Following the meeting on the Atlantic Strategy. CAAC, together with Eixo Atlantico, endeavoured a series of meetings with the European Commission so as to value the urban dimension of the Atlantic Strategy.
The main topic of the meeting with DG MOVE was contactability. The first idea that comes to mind when thinking on transports in the Atlantic Area is accessibility. Accesibility is paramount when tackling the peripheral position of the Atlantic Area, and, even if several initiatives are on-going, it still remains an obstacle for development. But, in a deeper insight, so as to foster cooperation and tap the potential of synergies, cities and regions in the Atlantic Area have to be connected between themselves and not only with the “center”. This is what we understand for contactability and the position defined by CAAC coordinator in the meeting.
As for DG ENERGY, EU policies were presented as a huge opportunity for local authorities. The focus should not only be the switch to renewable energies, but also the carbon storage techniques. Both should reduce emissions and dependency. Instruments like “Connecting Europe” and the Cohesion thematic priorities will be key as a lever for investment in the energy area. The two urban networks present at the meeting were reminded of the importance of the Covenant of Mayors and the “Smart Cities” campaign, as opportunities for joint reflection at European level. Atlantic Area projects like CLIMANTLANTIC or ANATOLE were praised as good practice in the topic carried out by Atlantic Cities.
The day ended with a meeting in DG MARE, so as analyse the Atlantic Strategy from a local prospective. Both Eixo Atlantico and CAAC explained the need for the Atlantic Forum to reach civil society and the private sector. Territorial and Sectoral Networks, that have been cooperating for long in the Atlantic Arc ,should be a reference point; in order to fill in the gaps of communication between the EU and the grassroots level. Concepts like the size of towns and cities, economy of proximity, contactability and dispersion, … should be taken into account when drafting the Action Plan; as well as the projects of the Atlantic Area INTERREG where cities participate (Innovate, Imaginaatlantica, Climantlantic, Anatole, etc). The national level should also be contacted and briefed on the expectations of the territories. New stakeholders join every day the Atlantic Strategy, as the EBI and the Forum itself will have three more events after the one in Cork. A consultation will be opened in November and the urban networks were invited to collect and compile the information, as well as to disseminate the Atlantic Strategy and Forum among Local Authorities.