Atlantic Strategy presentation in Brussels

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On 2nd October, CAAC was invited to present the views of Atlantic Arc Cities on the Strategy. In a workshop earmarked by the CLIMAATLANTIC project, Tamara Guirao, CAAC coordinator intervened together with various Atlantic stakeholders. IN her presentation, she explained the role of CAAC and the views of this network on the Atlantic Strategy, namely a translation of the priorities into urban-friendly initiatives and the capitalization of Atlantic (urban) projects such as Portonovo, Cultur*AT, Dorna or ANATOLE.

The Portuguese representative described the event of the Atlantic Forum that took place in Azores. More than one hundred stakeholders gathered there to discuss the Atlantic Strategy. From the main conclusions two warnings can be extracted:

  • No additional leverages are foreseen, as the Strategy will be embedded in the MFF
  • The Atlantic Strategy has to be included in the Partnership Agreements

Luis Cuervo, from DG MARE, described the process since its inception early 2009. Europe is to be given a completely new face, as Member States are focused in blue growth. In this sense, three out of five priorities of the Atlantic Strategy are reflected in the Climaatlantic project. For the future, action has to be wider and search for more than policy orientations. The strategy shall orientate an European output while supporting local economy and earmarking EU funding. “Real things” have to be proposed by stakeholders who are called to engage, personally or with their written contributions.

José Antonio Ruiz de Casas mentioned that this is a rough time for cooperation whereas it could not be ignored, as it is enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty. Partnership Agreements are fundamental and they have to reflect the macro-regional strategies and aim to create cooperation frameworks. In addition, some needs can be drawn from the Baltic experience:

  • Raising political commitment and administrative back-up
  • Finding innovative financial support
  • Improving evaluation and targeting
  • Fostering good communication

Ciara Delaney, from the Irish representation before the EU, explained that the territories need to know more of what is actually happening on the ground. The Atlantic Strategy also needs to involve citizens and align with Smart Specialisation in order to integrate itself in a “think global, act local” prospective.

Responding to this intervention, Luis Cuervo, from DG MARE agreed that the next Irish Presidency will be a key moment for the Atlantic. Moreover, regions have to be fully involved in the Partnership Agreements and aim for cross-cutting links. Concerning the Forum, it will be ridiculous to say goodbye on December, 31st 2013, and even the 3 macro-regional noes might be overcome by an international agreement.

In his intervention, Robert Collins, from the Irish regions, explained that a longer term vision was unavoidable. Seven years is too short term. The Baltic should be seen as an inspiration and a source of good practice. Both representatives of the Commission agreed that the Atlantic Arc, as it is multi-faceted, could be seen as complicated and that the 7 years have to be seen as a seed.

CAAC Coordinator, Tamara Guirao, intervened to explain that the success of the Atlantic Strategy depends on a real involvement and participation of Local Authorities, which have been proposing it since 2008 in the San Sebastian Charter. Multi-level governance is a binding condition for having a real strategy, and the bottom-up approach is the Atlantic DNA.

Xoan Vazquez Mao, Secretary General of Eixo Atlantico and CECICN marked that it is essential to overcome the crisis with own potential, tapping on unexploited resources and creating synergies. The answer for the Atlantic Area, is that it is an Ocean where either “we swim together or we sink together”, meaning that true cooperation is paramount.

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