Atlantic Arc regions gathered on 5 June 2019 at the Committee of the Regions to celebrate 30 years of cooperation within the CPMR’s Atlantic Arc Commission and to prepare “A Vision for the Atlantic Arc”. Two Declarations on the future of the Atlantic Strategy and the INTERREG Atlantic Area Programme were voted and agreed by members.

On 5 June at the Committee of the Regions in Brussels, member regions of the Atlantic Arc Commission (AAC) of the CPMR met to discuss the big strategic challenges facing Atlantic regions now and, in the future, such as Brexit, climate change, the place of Atlantic regions in EU policy, and transport connectivity.  These discussions took place in the presence of experts on Atlantic cooperation and other friends and stakeholders of the AAC.  The moment also marked 30 years of the Atlantic Arc Commission, established by the Faro Declaration in October 1989, as a forum for collaboration and partnership between Atlantic regions to ensure a strong voice in an expanding European Union.  The event highlighted the importance to continue close cooperation among regions to ensure greater influence over national and EU policy that will assure the needs and interests of Atlantic regions are met now and in the future.  Atlantic regions have a frontline role in many challenges of relevance to the whole of the EU, including geopolitical challenges such as Brexit or trans-Atlantic interactions, and environmental challenges, such as climate change mitigation and the development of marine renewable energies.

Ricardo SERRÃO SANTOS, Member of the European Parliament and strong ally and supporter of the Atlantic regions, gave a keynote speech on the vital importance of working together, particularly to protect the Atlantic Ocean.  “We are facing our last chance to save and protect our Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, a healthy ocean… Since 2011 we act for it, these ambitions must be pursued”. The CAA regions actively participated in the debates, expressing their vision of the Atlantic challenges.

On this occasion, the regions voted a new Political Declaration on the revision of the Atlantic Strategy Action Plan. This Declaration advocated strongly for a continued substantial and permanent role for regions in the governance of the Atlantic Strategy and provided insights on the main objectives of the Atlantic Strategy, including transport connectivity, cooperation on maritime specialisation and Maritime Spatial Planning, the fight against climate change and marine pollution, maritime training and marine renewable energy.  The Atlantic Regions also validated an Open Letter in favour of maintaining the INTERREG Atlantic Area programme, crucial to the implementation of the Atlantic Strategy.

 “I am confident that nothing could happened collectively unless individually we would put an effort into that. So, thanks to those individuals, 30 years ago, in 1989, 52 regions decided to join forces and create the AAC within the CPMR” Eleni MARIANOU, CPMR General Secretary. Chair of the event and regional councilor for Pays de la Loire Region which currently holds the Presidency of the AAC, Vanessa CHARBONNEAU said, “it is important to bear in mind the role that that Atlantic regions have, to be the entrance door of Europe. Because of that, but also due to the previously mentioned challenges, it is needed to have a more ambitious budget to support the transition and evolution of this area and the EU should really be aware of it.”

The commitment to Atlantic cooperation was made thirty years ago in Faro, Portugal, and was affirmed once again on the 5th of June in Brussels at “A Vision for the Atlantic Arc”.