Lhk_arco_atlantico2015 will be a key year for the Atlantic regions as the Atlantic Strategy will enter in force thereby unlocking the potential for blue growth for the entire sea basin.

In this context, the CPMR Atlantic Arc Commission met in Bilbao (ES) on 17th and 18th March 2015 for its General Assembly at the invitation of Iñigo Urkullu, President-Lehendakari of the Basque Government-Lehendakaritza, and with the participation of Vasco Cordeiro, President of the CPMR and President of the Regional Government of the Azores, and Ignacio Diego Palacios, President of the Atlantic Arc Commission and President of the Government of Cantabria.

During the meeting, delegates asked for the Atlantic Maritime Strategy to be given the same recognition as existing macro-regional strategies such as those for the Baltic and the Danube. “The Maritime component must remain a central pillar of this strategy, but recognition of the Atlantic Strategy as a macro-regional strategy would be advantageous for us not only in terms of visibility, but also for us to use existing tools set up for other Macro-Regional Strategies.”Stated Vasco Cordeiro.

Regarding the Junker Plan, the Atlantic Arc Commission expects this to fund large structuring projects in the Atlantic Regions, in particular in the marine leisure, energy efficiency, maritime industries and marine renewable energies sectors and insisted in being the link between public and private sector investors in order to generate growth and create jobs in their own territories.

In his speech, the Basque President, Iñigo Urkullu, encouraged members of the Atlantic Arc to be “active and consistent when proposing investment projects that could be eligible under the Juncker Plan”. President Urkullu added that “it will not be possible to solve all the challenges we face, but we can promote policies that can effectively contribute to the development of the Atlantic area” through “innovation cooperation, tourism, transport, marine energy, fisheries and sustainable integrated growth”. Stated Iñigo Urkullu

It is absolutely essential that the Atlantic Corridor of the Trans European Transport Network (TEN-T) should be reviewed and improved in the short term. This corridor is not fit to meet the current and future challenges facing the Atlantic regions and only serves to reinforce the peripherality of the regions that are not connected to it,” said Diego Palacios

Particularly on this topic, the Atlantic Arc Commission urged the five Atlantic States, the European Commission and the European Parliament to schedule full and in-depth changes to the map with regard to the Atlantic Corridor, in order to link up the ports of the Atlantic with the rest of the European network.

During the General Assembly, the European Parliament was represented by Izaskun Bilbao, Member of the TRAN Committee at the European Parliament, and the Commission by Ioana Rus, Member of Cabinet of Corina Creţu in charge of Regional Policy and Ángel Landabaso, Research Programme Officer at DG RTD.

At the end of the meeting a final declaration was approved by participants.