Cohesion and growth for islands

Cohesion and growth for islands

Key points

The EESC calls on the EU to adopt an integrated approach for a better integration of islands in the internal market as a key factor for enhancing the cohesion and growth of the Union, and thereby to fully achieve the objectives of the revised Lisbon Agenda. Such an integrated approach is justified insofar as, despite their differences (particularly as regards their size), islands face common key problems.

The EESC recommends the establishment of an integrated framework of Community policies covering all the relevant problems of European islands in a coherent way.

The EESC underlines the need for sound governance to cope with problems such as information and communication; quantification and qualification of data; a common strategic vision; networking and clustering; civil society participation. Thus, in order to achieve such a goal, it is important to create the good conditions needed to allow local institutions on islands to assess the cost of insularity. Local statistical services and price indexes are therefore imperative. In the end, a common assessment methodology should be developed between all local statistical services in the European islands.

The EESC also calls for an impact assessment on islands for any EU initiative for the internal market, including an "island touch" in all EU policies, and a reduction in the administrative burden, especially for SMEs.

Since accessibility is a key issue for islands, the EESC would like to stress the concept of territorial continuity. Such a tool should be further developed in the EU and must operate from the islands to the continent, and not the other way around.

Lastly, the EESC insists that the Commission present an annual report to the European Parliament, the Council, the Committee of Regions and the EESC itself, monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of relevant measures taken to solve the problems of European islands.