The passing of a 17-point resolution in the European Parliament aimed at addressing the challenges faced by island communities has been welcomed by the SIC’s political leader.
Gary Robinson, a member of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), addressed the annual joint meeting between the CoR and the European Parliament’s Regional (REGI) Committee last October.
He focused on the challenges faced by islands and highlighted the work of Our Islands Our Future (OIOF).
Mr Robinson said: “This resolution marks a significant step forward for all European islands and demonstrates once again the strength of the arguments being put forward by the Scottish islands’ councils through their Our Islands Our Future initiative.
“All 17 of the points that have now been put to the Commission will be immensely helpful in the pursuit of our ambition to get proper recognition for the very real challenges faced by islands.
“The committee has recommended to the Commission that they provide clarification on the obligations placed on member states by article 174 of the Lisbon Treaty which was signed by Gordon Brown on behalf of the UK. The article states that ‘particular attention shall be paid to areas which suffer from severe and permanent natural or demographic handicaps such as island and mountainous regions.’
“But it has proven very difficult to ascertain what support, if any, is being provided to such areas”
He added: “The proposed ‘Islands Desk’ in the Commission’s directorate general for regional policy is entirely in keeping with the ‘asks’ contained within the OIOF position statement.
“The fourth point asks the Commission to launch an in-depth study to look into the extra costs incurred as a result of being island regions, in terms of the transport system for people and goods, energy supply and access to markets. “Again, this is to be welcomed as we’ve long argued that it’s difficult for small and medium sized businesses in the islands to compete without an even playing field.”