On July 23rd, CAAC Coordinator was invited to the European Economic and Social Committee so as to participate in a hearing of its NAT Commission on the Action Plan of the Atlantic Strategy. Speakers at the table were the EESC rapporteur, Mr. Luis Pariza Castanos, and his expert Ms. Arantza Lopez de Munain (also on behalf of the RTA), Mr. Ramon Van Barneveld (European Commission DG MARE), Mr. Peter Mehlbye on behalf of ESPON, Mr. Paul O’DONOGHUE from the Committee of the Regions and Ms. Pauline Caumont, from the Atlantic Arc Commission.
Ms. Guirao started by presenting the Conference of Atlantic Arc Cities, pinpointing the similarities of this network with the assistance mechanism forecasted by DG MARE in the Action Plan of the Atlantic Strategy, namely:
- – Guidance to member cities on EU policies and funding
- – Creation of new networks, between the cities and other stakeholders like NGO’s, Universities, Ports, Chambers of Commerce…
- – Contact with Managing Authorities, CAAC being an observer member of the Atlantic Area Programme Monitoring Committee
- – Prospect of partners and identify financial sources: Every month, CAAC sends their members a brief with more than 30 funding calls, partner searches and contests for cities.
In EESC23713, Ms. Guirao also described the evolution of territorial cooperation in the Atlantic Arc, from the first twinning agreements until the Atlantic Strategy. She also expressed her view of a macro-region possible in 2017 for the Atlantic Arc, basing her affirmation in three facts of that year: An Atlantic Presidency of the EU (United Kingdom) the first assessment of the Atlantic Strategy, and the start of negotiations for the next programming period.
She also mentioned the importance of including all stakeholders involved in the implementation of the Strategy, the same that started and have followed up it, since 2009: the cities, the regions, the European Parliament… As a conclusion she presented a SWOT analysis of the Action Plan, declined in several recommendations and a specific point concerning environment.