The EESC is convinced that islands, mountainous regions and sparsely populated areas face significant challenges and that there is a solid legal basis that obliges the EU to take action in order to tackle these challenges. In this context, the organised civil society has an important role to play and through this debate, the aim is to find the best practices and solutions so that these regions can perform better and recover from the multiple crises. Therefore the EESC- ECO section has decided to organise this public debate in the framework of the EESC own-intiative opinion on "Main challenges that EU islands, mountain and sparsely populated areas face.
Insularity is considered to be a permanent and unchangeable geographical feature which involves additional costs (transport, energy, waste management, public services, necessity goods and services) that hamper the development and competitiveness of the islands, while particularly exposing them to biodiversity loss and climate change. The organised civil society has an important role to play and tackle all these challenges and through this debate. The aim is to find the best practices and solutions so that EU islands can preform better and recover from the multiple crises.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) will be producing an own-initiative opinion on the main challenges faced by EU islands and mountainous and sparsely populated areas, which is scheduled for adoption at the EESC's September plenary session. In this context, the EESC, along with the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) and the North Sweden European Office (NSEO), will be holding a public hearing in Umeå (Sweden) on 4 May 2023 entitled "Challenges and opportunities that the digital and energy transitions present to the northern sparsely populated areas and islands. How can these regions become drivers for growth and development?". The hearing is an event under the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU.