On Thursday 14 November, the Atlantic Arc Commission (AAC) held its General Assembly in Porto, Norte Region, Portugal. Atlantic regions voted and approved the Porto Political Declaration in which regions reaffirmed their commitment to working together and the importance of maintaining a cohesive Atlantic Area in the next programming period 2021-2027 and particularly after Brexit. The declaration emphasised the key principles that have guided the successful work of the Atlantic Arc Commission over the past 30 years.

AAC regions asked the European Institutions to ensure a strong multi-level governance framework and funding programmes to strengthen cooperation in the Atlantic and to ensure cohesion, prosperity, and security in the Atlantic area.  The Atlantic Arc regions highlighted their geopolitical and strategic importance, in terms of transport connectivity with Ireland and EU-UK relations on fisheries, particularly in the context of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

Mr Fernando Freire da Sousa, President of the Norte Region opened the proceedings, emphasising the importance of interregional cooperation: “We have the pleasure to host the 30th anniversary of the Atlantic Arc Commission, the same year that we celebrate the 50th anniversary of CCDR-Norte. As managing authority of the INTERREG Atlantic Area Programme, the region is very committed to maintaining a cohesive Atlantic area. We ask the EU institutions to maintain our INTERREG programme in the new EU programming period.”

The regions of the Atlantic Arc also adopted a Political Statement on An All Atlantic Skills Alliance, making a political commitment to coordinate initiatives to reduce skills gaps in the maritime sectors, and to prepare regional economies and citizens for the energy shift and the new skills requirements in respect of climate change adaptation.

Furthermore, in accordance with the principles agreed 30 years ago, the AAC regions called for a strong Atlantic Arc of transport, which would fully unlock the potential of the Atlantic façade as a gateway to Europe.

Notes to editors:

The 30th General Assembly of the AAC was held in the framework of a series of Atlantic events taking place in Porto: the Atlantic Stakeholders Platform Conference, the INTERREG Atlantic Area annual event and the Business2Sea Conference. It was the occasion for the CPMR Atlantic member regions to pass key messages to the EU institutions and Atlantic Member States on the importance to maintain a cohesive Atlantic area in a post Brexit context and new EU programming period.

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