European Small Islands Federation

Our favourite MEP

I do I have I am 1

There are 751 members of the European Parliament – MEP’s. They were elected in 2014 and are now passing laws, deciding on international agreements, reviewing the work the Commssion is doing and proposing legislation. In Brussels, they are the voice of more than 500 million Europeans – old, young, men, women, urban, hillbillys, conservatives, radicals… but are they also the voice of the islanders?

The Parliament is actually asking us – the Europeans – to nominate an MEP that has made an outstanding contribution in an EU policy area. No later than November, 8.

Should ESIN nominate an MEP who has done much for the islands?

If so, who should it be?

Who is the islands watchdog in the European Parliament?

One way of judging MEPs is to look at the parliamentary questions raised by them. Since they were elected 2014, up until today the MEPs have raised thousands and thousands of written and oral questions which one can find here

We made a search and fund that 449 questions included the word “island”. When running a check on these 449, we discovered that most of them deal with national issues. Like the refugee situation in the Aegean Sea, the future of wind power on the Åland islands, or whale hunting in the Faroes. These are very important questions, but not common small island issues, not a reason to give them an ESIN island watchdog nomination.

Among the 449 questions, 19 were about common European island issues. Here they are:

– Neoklis Sylikiotis (Cyprus) regarding free wireless connectivity in EU’s local communities (islands included);

– Claudia Tapardel (Roumania) on the special situation of islands in the European Union;

– Alfred Sant (Malta), Salvatore Cicu (Italy), Tonino Picula (Croatia), Michela Giuffrida (Italy), Costas Mavrides (Cyprus) and Miltiadis Kyrkos (Greece) raising the question of the EU’s regional competitiveness index and island regions;

– Giovanni La Via (Italy) on the special situation of islands;

– Gabriel Mato (Spain) on strengthening the regions of Macaronesia (well, not all of the European islands but still a region);

– Lefteris Christoforou​ (Cyprus) on the need to assist islands affected by water shortages, and on the need to support the island regions of the EU, and on problems associated with insularity;

– Rosa Estaràs Ferragut (Spain) on energy poverty in island regions, and promotion of renewable energies in the tourism industry of islands;

– Salvatore Cicu (Italy) on the recognition of the special situation of islands;

– Iskra Mihaylova (Bulgaria) on insularity conditions, and also on island regions;

– Matt Carthy (Ireland) on island products;

– Soledad Cabezón Ruiz (Spain) on self-consumed energy on islands​;

– Ole Christensen (Denmark) on payments to farmers on islands not connected by a bridge and residence obligation;

– Ivan Jakovčić (Croatia) on sparsely populated islands (well, he is mainly addressing Croatian islands);

– Therese Comodini Cachia (Malta) on coastal and maritime ecotourism, and island connectivity;

– Biljana Borzan (Croatia) on islands’ equal access to health protection;

We cannot judge which of these questions have actually led to improvements for the islands.

You can check on any MEP here

There are a few MEP’s who are generally and constantly working for improvement of island conditions and who have been actively in contact with us. Here are four names:

Alyn Smith (Scotland), active in the insularity condition debate Feb 2016, participated in ESIN’s AGM on Mull back in 2012, very active in agricultural questions (including islands).

Tonino Picula (Croatia), chair of islands subgroup in SEARICA Intergroup, active in the water savings challenge with ESIN as a partner, driving force in establishing special financial instruments for islands.

Matt Carthy (Ireland) attended the Island food event that ESIN organised, actively promoting island products.

Maria Spyrakis (Greece) has organized many open hearings and round table discussions in Brussels on smart energy programmes such as SMILEGOV and the European policy for transport.

You are most welcome to propose other names but please do not promote MEP’s who have made an important job for your islands, but for all islands.

This is the link to where you can vote:

I Do I Have I Am 2

Illustrations by Saul Steinberg, 1971

Ophelia hits Irish islands with 110kph winds


“As the southern most community in Ireland we are expecting to get the first whack off Ophelia in the morning and throughout the day.” says Máirtín Ó Méalóid on Cape Clear Island, and continues “Probably going to be without electricity and possibly various communications systems for a few days given the impending grim forecast.  Everybody stay safe and watch out for others! Ná tóg aon seansanna amadacha!”

Ireland is preparing for what could be its worst storm in half a century when the remnants of Hurricane Ophelia make landfall, bringing wind gusts of up to 110 kilometres per hour.

Ophelia is now a post-tropical cyclone but is still forecast to bring hurricane-force winds to Ireland and the United Kingdom on Monday (local time).

On late Sunday (local time), Ophelia’s maximum sustained winds at 140 km/h with higher gusts. The storm weakened to a category one hurricane as it moved north-north-east across the Atlantic, with sustained winds of 145 kilometres per hour.

You can see her here,36.44,290




New funding for clean energy on islands

Samsö windmillThe European Commission has announced an increase in the budget for Europe’s islands amounting to an impressive 10 million euros.

In Brussels, MEP Tonino Picula met with Cristopher Jones (Deputy General Director of the Commission’s Energy Directorate) who confirmed this information and thanked him for the initiative so far.

The reason for this meeting was the continuation of the implementation of the Preparatory Action proposed by Tonino Picula last year, and for which 2 million has already been approved from the EU budget.

Namely, Picula, together with his colleagues Alfred Sant (MEP from Malta) and Michela Giuffrida (MEP from Italy) from the Inter-Group of the European Parliament for the Sea, Rivers, Islands and Coastal areas, of which Picula is responsible for European Islands, put in place an amendment, following a positive evaluation from the European commission and the European Parliament, ha managed to obtain the aforementioned 2 million euros for the islands.Tonino-1-2

“The goal of this action is to make the islanders [themselves] the leaders in the use of clean energy, to become the models for solutions at a European level. To help them make the most of the electricity they use by using local clean energy sources and thus become more autonomous in regard to their energy supply”, says Picula.

Tenders will be announced next month (November 2017) and funds will be allocated within the next two years. The deadline for applications is January 2018.

Skärgård magazine no 160

Ledare 1-2

Every European island flaunts its assets in glossy magazines, typically written by journalists and photographers spending a week or two in the island’s holiday landscape. Luckily, there is also another kind of island magazines, written by the islanders themselves, sometimes with the help of researchers, dealing with the island culture, history, lifestyle, infrastructure and politics. Such magazines were briefly described here in July 2016.

One of these is the superb magazine Skärgård (= Archipelago), which has just published its 160th (!) issue, with Pia Prost as editor.

The issue starts with a clever editorial by Pia Prost entitled “Mankind is not an island” and continues with articles on sustainability, biogas, fishing, hybrid ferry Elektra, recent disputations, island loos and a very interesting article entitled “Meeting the challenges of Europe’s small islands” by Camille Dressler. We had no idea Camille masters the Swedish language so well (maybe she had some help from Pia?). She gives examples from her own island Eigg, stressing the importance of sharing island stories with happy endings.

Another article is on Simskäla, which was ESIN’s runner-up for the EUSEW 2017 award: “On Simskäla, from different angles” for example “top down or bottom up”, “on or in an island”, “seen from here and seen from there”. Simskäla did not win the EUSEW prize this year (Tilos did, well deserved!) but the Energy Globe Foundation in Austria is urging us to apply for Simskäla to run for their 2018 Energy Globe Award.

Get your own copy here:



This island is not for sale

Eigg islanders

Long read on Eigg in The Guardian 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.”


Danish island journal no 169


The September issue of Danish Island Journal Ø-Posten has just been published. You can download a copy here Alas, it is only in Danish but anyone can read Danish with a little help from Google Translate.

The editorial by Danish chairman Dorthe Winter asks “Can you grow old on your island?”. The 27 small Danish islands are not municipalities and worry about the quality standards for home care on their islands. Avernakø and Lyø have opened a case against Faaborg- Midtfyn Municipality at the National Social Appeals Board, Tunø has brought an action against Odder municipality, and Fejø, Femø and Askø have brought proceedings against Lolland Municipality. A most important question for every island!

Number 169 also deals with the ESIN general meeting on Orkney, how to work on different ideas to strengthen the island’s settlement work, how islands can visibly reflect their potential to the outside world, and the very nice results of the “Island Passport” campaign. The whole Island passport can be seen here:

Island passportØ-Posten is published four times a year. It offers a superb impression of what’s up and what’s down among Denmark’s 27 small islands. This one is number 169. Impressive!

Water saving objectives

Group photo

Mayors and water managers from eight islands met on Croatian island Vis to decide if it is possible for islands to save water. The islands – Tilos and Ithaca in Greece, Vis and Lastovo in Croatia, Sein and Houat in France, Cape Clear and Inis Oírr – all have a scarcity of drinking water, mainly due to the development of tourism.

Based on recent, detailed field studies of the water situation on each of the islands made by the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and with live support from professors Anders Nordstrom and Sara Borgstrom, the meeting discussed best and worst practices in water saving. Moving further into action planning, they found that clever combinations of changes in human behaviour, simple household and large-scale technologies, smart pricing and governance can lead to savings from 6 to 50% within two years, as reported on Croatian national news

This would mean 18 billions of litres saved a year. If this is desalinated water, it is also a huge saving on energy and money.

With strong support from Tonino Picula, the project team is going to document their findings and suggestions to be presented before the Europan Parliament on November 22. They also want to create a ”Islands as Water Saving Labs” two-year project to measure their ongoing accomplishments and to share their knowledge and experiences within the group, to ESIN islands and to all who want to learn how islands manage to make small water footprints.