The European Summit of Peripheral and Maritime Regions approved in Palermo the Manifesto for a new Regional Policy in the Union

More than 280 delegates from 25 States, representing the 160 member regions of the Conference of Peripheral and Maritime Regions (CPMR), attended the 47th General Assembly held in Palermo to discuss social, economic and territorial cohesion policies in connection with the launch of the mandate of the new European Commission headed by Ursula Van der Leyen and the Strasbourg Parliament legislature.

Sicilian Regional Government, a member of the Islands Commission and the Intermediterranean Commission Bureaus of the CPMR, in the last two years has once again been a protagonist of the cohesion policies of the European institution.

This international meeting was held on the initiative of the Vice President and Councillor for Economics to the Sicilian Regional Government, Gaetano Armao, who attended the work of the three days in Palermo in his capacity as Vice President of the CPMR Islands Commission.

Under the chairmanship of Vasco Cordeiro, President of the Government of the Azores, delegates and experts discussed best practices regarding maritime policies for sustainable growth, transport and accessibility, governance of European territories, energy and neighbourhood policies.

A first-class panel participated in the work, composed of regional stakeholders and EU decision-making bodies: Karl-Heinz Lambertz, President of the Committee of the Regions (CoR); Marc Lemaitre, Director-General of DG Regional and Urban Policy, European Commission; Younous Omarjee, President of the Committee on Regional Policy (REGI) of the European Parliament; Gilles Siméoni, President of the CPMR Islands Commission and President of the Government of Corsica; Giovanni Toti, President of the Liguria Region and Vice-President of the Conference of Regions and Autonomous Provinces; Enrico Rossi, President of the Tuscany Region and Vice-President of the CPMR in charge of cohesion policy; George Alexakis, Vice-Governor of the Crete Region and Vice-President of the CPMR in charge of Maritime Affairs and other representatives of the main maritime and peripheral regions of Europe.

The Manifesto for a new Europe of the Regions, entitled Regions at the heart of the reformed Europen Union, was drawn up as evidence of the work of this 47th assembly. One of the most appreciated amendments was the one presented by the Sicilian delegation, attesting to the value of diversity as an element of wealth for Europe and of the essential role of island policies in overcoming territorial disparities.

The Palermo Manifesto, unanimously approved as a result of the work of this edition of the Assembly, establishes as common values to European regions economic, social and territorial cohesion, environmental protection, sustainability, digital, human rights and cooperation, becoming a proposal for the relaunch of regional policy to be proposed to the new European Commission led by Ursula van der Layen.

From Palermo, the CPMR has asked the European institutions to strengthen cohesion policies, starting with measures to compensate for the insularity of peripheral and outermost regions, to be recognised in the 2021-27 programme (territorial continuity, development tax, etc.). It is necessary to advance the regional debate in the EU, so that fundamental issues such as the condition of insularity, transport and energy, maritime policies of sustainable growth, become measures of concrete cohesion policy, commented - expressing full satisfaction for the success of the initiative - the Vice-President and Councillor for Economy of the Sicilian Regional Government.

The torch now passes to the island of Crete, which will host the 2020 edition of the CPMR. The Political Bureau of the Conference will meet on March 19, 2020 in Cornwall (UK) and then on June 11, 2020 in Zaandam, Noord-Holland, the Netherlands, while the Islands Commission will meet in Corvo, Azores, next April.

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