Proudly and actively contributing at EU Institutions level for the draft of an important document that will shortly become part of the new EU regulations and policies toward the ORs inclusive growth.
Among the various European Institutions, CoR (Committe of the Regions) can be considered the EU’s Assembly of Regional and Local Representatives. According to its mission statement, CoR is a political assembly of holders of a regional or local electoral mandate serving the cause of European integration. It provides institutional representation for all the European Union’s territorial areas, regions, cities and municipalities. It has 344 members ( regional and locally elected representatives from the 27 EU countries), 6 commissions covering competences in the main policy areas of the EU Treaties, 6 plenary sessions a year and more than 40 stakeholders’ consultations each year. Its mission is to involve regional and local authorities in the European decision-making process and thus to encourage greater participation from citizens. CoR representatives in fact vote on political recommendations for European strategies and participate in the preparation of Community legislation. At the earliest stages, CoR proposes political lines of approach and action drawn from the experience and expertise of the regional and local authorities, who are most often responsible for implementing legislation.
Malta recently had the honour to be the voice of CoR, while drafting and presenting the Committee’s opinion and view on “The Outermost Regions of the EU in the light of the Europe 2020 Strategy”.
The Committee in fact appointed Dr. Malcolm MIFSUD and Avv. Alberto NUOZZI LL.M. as, respectively, Rapporteur and Expert for the drafting and presentation of this important EU document. A delicate task successfully delivered by Dr. Mifsud, Mayor of Pietà, and Avv. Nuozzi, a talented and experienced international and multilingual business lawyer of Italian origins, holding a LL.M. post-graduate specialization obtained in London (UK), and recently established professionally in Malta.
According to Articles 349 and 355 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), there are eight Outermost Regions (ORs) of the EU: the four French overseas departments and regions (Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Réunion) and one overseas collectivity (Saint Martin); the two Portuguese autonomous regions (the Azores and Madeira); one Spanish Autonomous Community (the Canary Islands).
Dr. Mifsud and Avv. A. Nuozzi LL.M. early preparation for the drafting of the opinion on the ORs included several initial meetings in Brussels with EU Commission and EU Parliament representatives, as well as the Canary Island and other ORs Delegations in Brussels for a full-consultation approach. This as part of their belief that only joint strengths can offer a comprehensive view of the political involved matters and provide a satisfactory perspective that will reflect every positive input, toward the smoothest implementation of those policies that take in consideration ORs’ needs and opportunities for their sustainable and inclusive growth.
The mentioned document highlighted also the benefits for the EU as a whole given by the close relations of the ORs with overseas countries and third countries such as key emerging nations (i.e. Brazil or South Africa). The implementation of the new-generation EU 2020 policies to these territories, can therefore be considered as an opportunity and common driver of growth and their identification in EU’s socio-economic and cultural sphere, while expanding and promoting increased EU trade and knowledge-sharing with their neighbourhoods.
But equal importance was emphasized in the document with regards to the need, while implementing the EU 2020 Strategy to the ORs, to find a balance between measures to offset the specific and permanent constraints of the ORs (insularity, remoteness, small size, etc.) on one hand and those that aim to promote their advantages and opportunities on the other.
Most importantly, the opinion highlighted employment as high priority target and as parameter of all future key-interventions for the successful implementation of the EU 2020 Strategy in the ORs. It also emphasised that all measures towards the smart, sustainable and inclusive growth of ORs’ need to be delivered in partnership, and that Member States and regional authorities need to work closely together to maximise the ORs’ growth potential. The opinion in fact also provides pragmatic examples of synergies and initiatives that might be established and implemented to develop a new ORs’ economy based on greater product differentiation and specialization, as key factors and unique assets able to develop the ORs potential of growth and to strengthen traditional sectors, while developing emerging sectors and providing new job opportunities.
As result, on the 7th December 2012, the mentioned opinion was voted and unanimously approved for adoption by all Committee delegates and formally adopted during the Committee’s 99th Plenary Session scheduled on 31st January 2013 in Brussels at the European Parliament “Jόzsef Antall” Building.
Following the 15th COTER meeting held in Brussels, the Government of the Canary Island, on behalf of the ORs Association and President Mr. Paulino RIVERO, thanked personally Dr. Mifsud and Avv. Nuozzi for their support and great open approach during the elaboration of the ORs document. The Canary Island Government’s thank-you note expressly acknowledged their commitment and utmost efforts to deliver successfully a shared view of this delicate topic as result of joint strengths of all involved parties, reading: “the constructive attitude that you both showed from the first meeting was essential in the accomplishment of a smooth collaboration and a flourishing outcome. Therefore, we consider this document a very important achievement as it has allowed us to defend many of the most important issues for the Outermost Regions. So, I can only reiterate our gratitude and offer our availability to work together again”.