The Atlantic Arc, the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, the Intermediterranean, the Balkan and Black Sea and the Islands are the six Geographical Commissions of the CPMR. With the exception of the Islands, they all correspond to Europe’s main sea basins. Therefore, the CPMR’s internal structure is a precursor of the EU macroregional strategies.

Each Geographical Commission has its own organisational structure, so that it can promote its specific identity and cooperate on subjects of common interest, while contributing to the cohesion and unity of the Conference.

The Geographical Commissions – like the macro-regional strategies – are population catchment areas focusing on major common challenges and characteristics requiring collective trans-regional action. These cooperation areas extend across national borders and have the aim of joining forces, creating synergies and reducing overlaps within the same area. They all actively contribute to the reflections of the CPMR and to the preparation of its core policy positions.

The Islands Commission

The Islands Commission was set up in 1979 to defend the notion that being an island should not be synonymous with isolation.

Representing Island Regional Authorities, it urges the European Institutions to acknowledge those permanent handicaps that result from insularity, and to unfailingly consider the islands’ conditions in policy development.

The Atlantic Arc Commission

The Atlantic Arc Commission was set up in 1989, when the geopolitical interests of the EU were looking more towards the East than the West. Its priorities are linked to Accessibility, Transport, Marine Renewable Energies, Fisheries, Tourism, Culture and Innovation.

More recently, the Atlantic Arc Commission campaigned in favour of its own strategy at EU level. Since the adoption of this Strategy in 2011, this Commission has been participating in the monitoring of the strategy, as well as in the drafting of its Action Plan.

In order to help stakeholders implement the Action Plan, the Atlantic Arc Commission called for a Preparatory Action that was voted and granted by the European Parliament.

The North Sea Commission

The North Sea Commission was set up in 1989 and since then it has been active facilitating regional cooperation on topics such as management of the maritime space, accessibility and clean transport, energy and climate change issues as well as fostering attractive and sustainable communities. Cross-cutting issues are addressed by promoting innovation, excellence and sustainability.

Lobbying work for a North Sea grid is one of its flagship projects, and work is otherwise guided by the North Sea 2020 strategy and action plan.

An on-going preparatory Action, called for by the North Sea Commission and granted by the European Parliament in 2013, has created the possibility to examine the added value of increased regional cooperation in more depth.

The Intermediterranean Commission

The Intermediterranean Commission was also set up in 1989 and focuses on the development of the EuroMediterranean dialogue and Territorial Cooperation, concentrating its efforts on Transport and Integrated Maritime Policy, Economic and Social Cohesion, Water and Energy.

Today, it is calling for a macro-regional strategy for the Mediterranean and fostering the emergence of Mediterranean citizenship – also on migration policies – mobilising partners from the south of the basin too.

The Baltic Sea Commission

The Baltic Sea Commission was created in 1996, more than ten years before the creation of the Baltic Sea Macroregional Strategy in 2008.

Today, it is an important forum for constructive debate and the sharing of best practice on common issues and concerns across this area.

Maritime, Energy, Transport and Multi-level Governance are the main topics of discussion among its members.

The Balkan and Black Sea Commission

The Black Sea and Balkans Commissions were created in 2002 and 2003 respectively. They merged in 2004 in order to develop joint projects.

Today, the objective of the Balkan and Black Sea Regional Commission is to encourage dialogue and cooperation with a view to stepping up the relations between EU and non-EU Regions in the South-Eastern neighbourhood. It contributes towards peace and stability in the area, promotes regionalisation and encourages the application of the principles of subsidiarity.

An Adriatic-Ionian Task Force was launched in 2012 following the request of Member States to design a macroregional strategy for the Adriatic-Ionian Area (EUSAIR). This Task Force is composed of members from the InterMediterranean and Balkan-Black Sea Commissions.

It aims at helping the European Commission and the eight concerned Member States to take into account the priorities of Regional Authorities in its four pillars: Maritime Issues, Transport, Environment and Tourism. The Task Force allows Regional Authorities from non-EU Members to prepare their future accession.