Robinson welcomes European islands resolution

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.

SIC political leader Gary Robinson was happy with the reduced draw on reserves.
SIC political leader Gary Robinson was happy with the reduced draw on reserves.

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.”


Add Your Comment
  • John Tulloch

    • January 29th, 2016 15:13

    This is highly commendable work by Councillor Robinson and he should be congratulated on his success. It is no mean feat to progress even an inch through the bureaucratic quagmire that is the back offices of the EU.

    Unfortunately, the European parliament doesn’t have the same ‘clout’ as have the UK and Scottish parliaments, the unelected Commission runs the show and we must wait and see what crumbs they brush from their table.

    Shetland was taken into the EU over the heads of residents’ resounding No vote in the 1975 referendum and it behoves us to ask whether Shetland is now better off in than out of the EU.

    An autonomous Shetland outside the EU would control its own fishing grounds and all the things Councillor Robinson is patiently and assiduously trying to sqeeze from the great “Sponge of Brussels” would be for ourselves to decide.

    So, given that our small fishing nation neighbours Faroe and Iceland continue to balk at joining, EU enthusiasts will, perhaps, enlighten us as to why it is beneficial for Shetland to stay in?


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