Carlos César wants reinforcement of EU funding for transport and energy in Outermost Regions
Carlos César conveyed this morning in Brussels the satisfaction of Outermost Regions (ORs) regarding the most recent decisions taken by the European Commission (EC) on some issues raised by them; however he regretted that the Commission did not go further as we intended.
The President of the Government, who is also the President of the Conference of Presidents of ORs, mentioned the specific case concerning the possibility of "creating a specific funding programme for energy and transport, similar to POSEI, in accordance with the position taken by the Azores and the Memorandum approved in 2010. This same idea had been already conveyed in the report of the European Parliament. "
Despite being discontent with this situation, the government official hopes that the EU Commission will be able to analyse, together with the ORs, the uses of the funds allocated under the cohesion policy for transport and energy. The President of the Government also conveyed his belief that we will continue to work towards the development of these policies.
Carlos César spoke at the opening session of the 2nd Forum on the Outermost Regions of the European Union. The event was attended by the President of the EU Commission, Durão Barroso, and the Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn. In order to accomplish the goals for a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth of the ORs, the President of the Azorean Government stressed the "importance of consolidating a united Europe, based on the principles of cohesion and solidarity, which should be economically active and financially sustainable. Hence, we will be able to achieve success in the path we are following together towards Europe 2020."
In this context, the government official also highlighted the satisfaction with which he welcomed some of the guidelines defined in last European Meeting, regarding them as "an important wake-up call for the need of addressing problems and avoid delaying the sustainable solution for common problems within the European space."
Stating that "the issues of remoteness are also an internal challenge to the European Commission itself," Carlos César stressed that the progress made is the result "of an ongoing joint work between the government bodies of the ORs, the States and EU institutions, whose partnership will continue in order to boost the potentialities brought by this new stage."
These perspectives include the enhancement of the assets and potentialities of Outermost Regions, the promotion of modernisation and diversification of the economic sectors of these regions; however Carlos César reminded some specificities that must be taken into account.
"Given their structural situation, Outermost Regions have few alternatives to traditional production, hence it is fundamental to give special attention to sectors such as agriculture and fisheries as well as to the regional business sector," said the government official.
Stressing "the reinforcement of the principle of good governance, with special emphasis on a partnership between several levels of governance, the President of the Government defended the involvement of the ORs in the preparation and implementation of partnership agreements between the States and the EU Commission. He also advocated that the Commission should "assess whether the needs and individual advantages of the ORs are being adequately safeguarded and maintained for the next financial period."
The President of the Government and the Conference of Presidents of ORs also said the regions have enthusiastically welcomed "the possibility of expanding the territorial cooperation space of Outermost Regions to territories in their geographical proximity and with which they have historical and cultural ties."
With regard to cohesion policy, Carlos César reiterated "the defence of adequate financing under a specific ERDF allocation," stressing that this allocation is precisely based on the specific status and the existence of additional costs and constraints of Outermost Regions.
Therefore, he conveyed his total disagreement "with the imposition that half of the funds granted under this measure should be used for the diversification and modernisation of the economy. These goals were already embodied in the general guidelines which provided a higher funding rate."
Carlos César called for the European Commission to "adopt guidelines allowing regional authorities greater freedom in the allocation of specific funds as defended by several Member-States."
"The allocation of funds provided by the cohesion policy proposed should ensure the availability of funds to promote the modernisation and diversification of the economic sector. In this context, the Outermost Regions have demonstrated their commitment in this matter."