ESIN

European Small Islands Federation

Archive for Politics

This island is not for sale

Eigg islanders

Long read on Eigg in The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/sep/26/this-island-is-not-for-sale-how-eigg-fought-back. Quote: “Small islands are like celebrities: they loom far larger than their actual size, they are pored over by visitor-fans and they become public possessions, laden with reputations and attributes they may or may not embody.”

Laundry

#SmallislesThinkbig

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‘Small Islands are “the agents of change”  that can be trusted to make the low carbon revolution happen in Europe’ declared Brendan Devlin, Special adviser to DG Energy,  at the17th  AGM and annual Conference of the European Small Islands Federation.  It was held in Orkney islands on 11-13 September, and contributed an afternoon of talks on the theme of the Smart Islands for the prestigious Orkney International Science Festival.

The Orkney islands are well-known for their cutting edge leadership in Renewable technology, and on Tuesday 12 September, 32 islanders from 13 countries in Europe visited the small island of Shapinsay – 300 inhabitants where a local development trust was set up to bring income to the islanders through wind power. Their wind turbine, “Whorley”  brings  £90 000 annually to be spent on community projects, running a free minibus and electric taxi for islanders and visitors, and a 12 seats ‘out of hours’ ferry to allow islanders more flexibility in their travel to and from Orkney mainland. “ The quality of community engagement is really remarkable here ” enthused delegates from Greece and Brittany, “This is an inspiration to all our island communities.”

Mairtin O Mealoid of Comharchumann Chleire, the island development Cooperative of Cape Clear and Vice Chair of Comhdhail Oilean na hEireann the Irish Islands Federation said ” coming to Orkney and Discovering the Orkney food and produce brand as well as the Danish Island Produce brand was an inspiration. As a small island food producer myself, I am pleased that we are looking to introduce a similar designation for the producers in our small European islands. We have established a working group and intend to have an islands brand up and running in the near future. This will identify authentic island products that meet agreed criteria and will help with marketing and of course additional employment in the food and drink sectors on the islands”….

Best of all, was the quality of the exchanges between islanders from all corners of Europe. They found they had much in common in terms of opportunities and challenges. Discussing these in a formal as well as an informal setting felt to be of huge benefit: “Whenever we meet, we always learn something from each other” says Pia Prost, from FÖSS, the Finnish Southern archipelago, “by developing projects in small clusters and comparing results, we can advance by leaps and bounds.” Camille Dressler, Leader of the Scottish Islands Federation, who was re-elected as ESIN chair said: “We will be taking these results to Brussels next year and in the meantime, we will continue to push for the needs of the smaller islands of Europe to be recognised and addressed, especially in the context of the Territorial Cohesion Policy post 2020 and Brexit.

Camille Dressler, chairman of ESIN

Historic Islands Bill in Scotland

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The Scottish government has introduced a “historic bill” to create a sustainable future for Scotland’s islands. It is a success for the Scottish Archipelagoes (Orkney, Western Isles Council and Shetland Islands Council) that have been campaigning for several years for greater powers.

The introduction of the bill marks the first stage in its progress through parliament.

Among others points, the bill will propose the creation of a National Islands Plan; Extended powers to island councils in relation to marine licensing. This involves the potential extension of the provisions of the Orkney and Zetland County Council Acts of 1974, to enable Scottish minsters to establish a scheme requiring that activities up to 12 nautical miles from an island are licensed by the appropriate local authority; and giving island councils powers over activities on and around their coastlines.

This is well in line with ESINs view that an island consists of land + water. The sea should always be included when calculating the area, the rights, the culture, the benefits, the costs and the assets of an island – otherwise it might as well be a town in Germany, an English hill or a French village.

More information can be found on BBC Scotland: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-40247214

Public Hearing on entrepreneurship on islands

     

ESIN is proud to announce that we will collaborate with INSULEUR and EESC in organizing a Public Hearing on Entrepreneurship on Islands in Brussels on June,2

It is a follow-up of the “Smart Island” and “Inclusive Island” initiatives adopted by the EESC and the opinion on “Entrepreneurship on Islands: contributing towards territorial cohesion”, to be adopted by the Committee of Regions next May.

Background: As we esiners know, most of our SMEs are micro-enterprises – with fewer than ten employees – which produce and produce a large part of the economic value in islands. Craft professions – carpenter, butcher, baker, roofer, metal worker or information technician – are at the heart of islands communities. They produce mainly within their local base, ensure jobs and vocational training for young and old, and make an essential contribution to innovation in the European economy. Craft and small enterprises face particular problems due to their small size and limited resources. The globalisation of the economy and enlargements of the EU have also considerably changed the challenges that these enterprises face. Starting up a new business and getting the required capital is a challenge, as is finding the right kind of finance to expand an established business. Due to their limited resources and remoteness they suffer more from red tape and administrative burdens than mainland enterprises.

Objective: the public hearing will examine if existing policies and tools to support SMEs are sufficient for insular SMEs or some new tools or mechanism, mentioned also in the opinions, are needed to help these companies to tackle  obstacles and participate on a equal foot in the integration process and assure therefore a level playing field.

The program is attached.

http://www.insuleur.org/pagina.php?Cod_fam=3

Public hearing EESC June 2

“Europe is not a market, it is the will to live together”

Esteban Gonzales Pons

What a speech from Esteban Gonzales Pons, Spanish MEP, on the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome:

“Europe is not a market, it is the will to live together. Leaving Europe is not leaving a market, it is leaving shared dreams. We can have a common market, but if we do not have common dreams, we have nothing. Europe is the peace that came after the disaster of war. Europe is the pardon between French and Germans. Europe is the return to freedom of Greece, Spain and Portugal. Europe is the fall of the Berlin Wall. Europe is the end of communism. Europe is the welfare state, it is democracy.”

https://video-arn2-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t42.1790-2/17484826_1007828976028669_4542413079320723456_n.mp4?efg=eyJybHIiOjM3OSwicmxhIjo1MTIsInZlbmNvZGVfdGFnIjoic3ZlX3NkIn0%3D&rl=379&vabr=211&oh=572458166e3e7c9f910f4383a56733c3&oe=58E382FF

Creating new pathways for EU islands

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Chair Camille Dressler represented ESIN at the Smart Islands Initiative launch in Brussels yesterday, saying: “We are proud to have been signing the Smart Islands Declaration: islanders will now be truly empowered to be lead the energy revolution: Thank you DG energy for your support, and massive respect to Kostas and Alkisti from the Aegean Energy Agency for holding the vision right through to this fantastic achievement, a well deserved success!!!”

http://bit.ly/2nKTcu5

The journey of the Smart Islands Intiative starts with the 1st Smart Islands Forum, organized last June in Athens at the initiative of DAFNI (coordinator of the SMILEGOV project, which officially ended in 2015. In SMILEGOV ESIN formed a cluster of 15 small islands https://europeansmallislands.com/smilegov/.

The Forum built on this foundation, offering the opportunity to capitalize on the results of SMILEGOV and broaden at the same time the European family of islands. At the Forum more than 40 representatives of island local and regional authorities and actors from Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK as well as organisations such as ESIN, the European Commission, CPMR, EESC, INSULEUR, GEF and GIZ took stock of islands collaboration over the years and decided to launch the Smart Islands Initiative as a meaningful vehicle helping them embark on a smart, sustainable and inclusive development paradigm! To this end, they started drafting the Smart Islands Declaration and decided to have it endorsed by all Quadruple Helix actors back in their islands, namely public administrations, businesses, academic institutions and civil society actors!

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MEPs Eva Kali Eva Kaili, Salvatore Cicu Salvatore Cicu, Anna Hedh Anna Hedh, Davor Skrlec @davor Skrlec, Jens Gieseke  Jens Gieseke, Neoklis Sylokiotis Neoklis Sylikiotis, Gabriel Mato @Gabriel Mato and Alyn Smyth Alyn Smith at the launch in the European Parliament, March 28.

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A smart island is the insular territory that embarks on a climate resilient pathway, combining climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, in order to create sustainable local economic development and a high quality of life for the local population by implementing smart and integrated solutions to the management of infrastructures, natural resources and the environment as a whole, supported by the use of ICT, all while promoting the use of innovative and socially inclusive governance and financing schemes.

World Water Day

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Vice-President of the European Parliament Intergroup for the islands, Tonino Picula, organized a panel discussion on the islands and hosted representatives of eight small European islands from Croatia, France, Greece and Ireland, in the European Parliament in Brussels yesterday.

The panel, which was held on the occasion of World Water Day, marks the beginning of the project “Water saving challenge” that aims to save water and money on the islands. The project gathers 8 islands from 4 EU Member States (see the map attached). They will use their experience and knowledge for development of mindsets and technologies for saving water and communicate it to the 1,640 islands of ESIN – and others.

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“The lack of drinking water affects both islands and coastal communities, and the Water Saving Challenge taps into possibilities of using technology and adjusting human behaviour to save both water and money”, said MEP Tonino Picula.

The project will carry out through the whole year, during which two key events will be held. Meeting of the working group after the field research is set for September on Komiža, island Vis and results will be presented in November, again in the European Parliament in Brussels.

Christian Pleijel with the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, said that “the aim of this project is to prove that we can, as people, islanders, industry, entrepreneurs, teenagers … reduce water consumption and build a project together, by listening to the islander’s solutions. For example, to establish a hotel that would motivate guests to stay in, because it successfully saves water.”

Dr. Christoforos Perakis from the Greek Centre for Renewable Energy Sources and Saving emphasized that they plan to make the island Agios Efstratios the first Greek “green island” which will get almost all the energy from renewable sources. As an excellent example of combining the power of wind and water towards energy independence, he announced a new project on the construction of a hybrid power plant on the island of Ikaria.

Mairtin O’Mealoid from the European Federation of small islands (ESIN) with Irish Cape Clear Island announced a major investment of the Irish Government in pipeline, because it turned out that 60 percent of water (11 million liters yearly = 30,000 liters/day) is lost on the way from pumping station to the consumers on the island.

“This project is a result of islanders and politicians working together and therefore I am extremely grateful to MEP Picula for his support and dedication to the project.”

The core team of the “Water saving challenge” project is : MEP Picula, Christian Pleijel and Mairtin O’Mealoid, Anders Nordstrom of the University of Stockholm and Maxime Bredin, representative of the University of Brest. Eight islands included are : Vis and Lastovo, Sein, Houat, Ithaca, Cape Clear, Inisheer and Tilos.

The panel on the islands presented a lot of useful and positive examples of efficient management of water as the most important resource. Discussion pointed that the island’s water resources were often, and for too long, badly ruled and that the islanders were often imposed ineffective solutions, coming from mainland.

Although much still has to be done for efficient and sustainable resolution of the island’s water management, the panelists concluded that the opening of this dialogue between European islands is a significant step forward that will enable better and more effective action for improving life on the islands around the Old continent.

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