ESIN

European Small Islands Federation

The 11th Nation

11th-nation-1d

At the EESC Public Hearing 7th of February, Croatian MEP Tonino Picula mentioned that the islands of Europe, if grouped together, would rank as Europe’s ninth nation. I double-checked him, making a table based on Wikipedia, from which I excluded islands that are nations (Great Britain, Ireland, Cyprus and Malta) but included all the remaining 2.136 ones, summing up their areas and their populations.

The result is a complex, widespread, divided, illusive island nation with an area of 454,753 km2 and with 18,889,077 inhabitants. Were it a nation, it would population-wise place itself after Romania but before Kazakstan[1]. Counting by area, it would rank as the 4th nation of Europe, just after Norway[2]. Assuming humans are more important than land, the islands of Europe grouped together would rank as the number 11 among the 50 sovereign states of Europe. Were it a nation, it might be called ISLANDIA.

Is this 11th nation of Europe different from the other 28 nations of Europe? Yes: it has some very valuable assets: (1) shores, that attract hundreds of millions of tourists every year; (2) seas, that contain tides, waves, oil, gas, fish, motorways of the seas as well as more ordinary waterways; (3) unrivalled natural and cultural heritages.

This 11th imaginary nation also has an invisible obstacle surrounding it: remoteness – a permanent handicap causing extra costs for its small-scale societies, enterprises and inhabitants. There are 671 ro-pax ferries connecting the islands with the mainland. On the one thousand smaller islands, 38% of the total energy spent is used for sea transports, larger islands somewhat less[3]. To reengineer these sea transport systems would be an economical, ecological and social revolution.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_European_countries_by_population

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_European_countries_by_area

[3] https://europeansmallislands.com/smilegov/

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