The Atlantic Arc Commission asks for Europe"s endorsement of the Atlantic Macroregion

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  • The Basque Country is currently chairing the Assembly of the Atlantic Arc Commission in Cardiff (Wales), the first to be held in the United Kingdom after Brexit
  • The meeting has given a definitive boost to the Atlantic Macroregion, and its priorities and governance model have been defined
  • The proposal will be sent to the Spanish Presidency of the EU so that it can include this project on its agenda “as a political priority” and promote its creation with the backing of the European Council

The Secretary General for the European Union and External Action, Marian Elorza, presided today, on behalf of the Lehendakari, over the General Assembly that the Atlantic Arc-CAA Commission is holding these days in Cardiff (Wales).

The meeting –the first to be held in the United Kingdom after Brexit– was attended by the heads of external action of the member governments of the Commission, the President of the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions, Cees Loogen, a member of the European Parliament and a representative of the government of Quebec. They were welcomed by the Chief Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, as host.

Together with Marian Elorza, the Director for the European Union, Mikel Antón, the Basque Delegate for the European Union, Marta Marin, and the Director of the Basque Energy Agency-EVE, Iñigo Ansola, who took part in one of the sessions, attended Cardiff on behalf of the Basque Government.

The Assembly in the Welsh capital was a decisive one for the AAC, given that it approved, with a broad consensus, a Declaration that establishes the configuration of the Atlantic Macroregion and sets its priorities and governance model. It also asked the Spanish Presidency of the EU to include this project on its agenda “as a political priority”, and the European Council to give the green light to the implementation of this initiative.

As Marian Elorza pointed out in his opening speech, this is a “key and propitious” moment to defend the interests of the Atlantic territories and to give collaboration between them a “more strategic nature”. All this in order to address future maritime, climate, digital and societal challenges, while at the same time addressing challenges such as the increasing “marginalisation” of the Atlantic in the European framework.

“Atlantic interests deserve to be higher on the European agenda. We need to have a framework that enables all levels of government to work collaboratively, joining wills and efforts, identifying agreed priorities and working in a coordinated way on them – each one with their own responsibilities” said the head of the Basque Government.

Priorities and governance model

In the Declaration adopted earlier this afternoon, the priorities that the Atlantic Arc Commission believes the Macroregion should have are set out. These are: an innovative and sustainable Atlantic economy; an interconnected Atlantic area that is also resilient to climate change; social and cultural cohesion; and improved governance and cooperation in the Atlantic area.  On this last point, the text advocates the participation of the regions and autonomous communities in all the governing bodies of the future macro-region, “to guarantee the efficiency of public policies”, and also to involve “Atlantic socio-economic actors”.

Basque Presidency

Marían Elorza –who spoke on behalf of the Lehendakari Iñigo Urkullu– reviewed some of the milestones that have marked the Basque presidency of the Atlantic Arc Commission, now in the first year of the Basque Country’s second term of office.

Thus, during this period, the pilot project for transatlantic cooperation has been launched, which has the backing of the European Parliament and the approval of the Commission; progress has been made in the promotion and deployment of marine renewable energies in the Atlantic; and the visibility of the AAC has been increased before EU institutions and forums, among other achievements.

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