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.
On 17th May 2016, a delegation of EESC Members of the "Transport, energy, infrastructures and information society" section went on mission to the Aegean islands (EL), with the objective to learn about the islands' production of energy.
On 27th June 2016, a delegation of EESC Members of the "Transport, energy, infrastructures and information society" section went on mission to the island of Saaremaa in Estonia, with the objective to evaluate the solutions developed to develop the economy and improve the wellbeing of the population.
On 20 May 2016, the EESC's TEN Section project delegation carried out a study visit in Lisbon to gain first-hand knowledge of some of the extremely interesting smart city projects that have been set up in the city.
The Lisbon region boasts a high concentration of companies involved in high-level technology and research, with approximately 333 000 companies headquartered in the region.
The delegation had the opportunity for a study visit to learn more about the Sharing Cities lighthouse project.
On 4th May 2016, a delegation of EESC Members of the "Transport, energy, infrastructures and information society" section is on mission to the island of Samsø (Denmark), with the objective to evaluate the islands' smart projects developed in the area of energy autonomy.
On 29 April 2016, the EESC's TEN Section project delegation conducted a study visit in La Rochelle to discover some of the inspirational smart city initiatives that have been implemented so far.
The delegation had the opportunity to make a technical visit to find out, inter alia, about the Atlantech project.