Islands have special characteristics and therefore face particular problems. However, their very specific situation can also offer opportunities if, with the necessary effort from all parties concerned, policies are developed and implemented which create sustainable growth and, at the same time, job opportunities for the young generation, competiveness and innovation, whilst respecting the environment and cultural heritage. This conference is foreseen in the Smart Islands project, and is aimed at showcasing and discussing best practices to help islands develop in a sustainable and "smart" manner.
This report provides a study of the retail sector, which is one of the biggest in Europe in terms of the number of enterprises active and individuals employed. The study aims to provide practical insights on revitalising small retailers in urban and rural areas. The underlying objective is achieved through identifying the main trends, challenges and opportunities faced by small retailers, and outlining what types of good practices have been put into place to support these enterprises in city-centres, including highlights on the situation of small retailers located in rural areas.
The EESC "Smart Islands" project is based on the own-initiative of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) on Smart islands TEN/558.
Speech by President Luca JAHIER at the inaugural session of the Round Table organised by the Bulgarian ESC in Sofia on Friday 5 September 2014