European Small Islands Federation

New Island Definition


The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy has provided us with a new definition of the elusive nature of an island, ”being characterised as permanently inhabited with a population of minimum 20, surrounded by saline water, whether or not interconnected by road, power line or any other infrastructure.”

This was created within the context of the ”Islands Initiative” which shall support transition to clean energy on islands.

We most happily acknowledge our European Union has come a long way from its old opinion that an island is not an island if it has fewer than 50 permanent residents, is attached to the mainland by a rigid structure, is less than 1 km from the mainland, or is home to the capital of an EU state.

Thank you Brendan Devlin! It may seem a small step for a European Government official, but it is a giant step for our part of mankind.

Just making sure: basically, an island remains a piece of land surrounded by water.

The island pictured is Kotisaari near to Rovaniemi in Finland, photo Jani Ylinampa. It does not have 20 inhabitants, no electricity, it is in a sweetwater lake, there is a flagpole, a well and a bridge and it is an island and a home to people who deserve our respect and understanding.

No plastic bags for Christmas, please!


From Tilos to Samothrace and from Alonnisos to Lipsi islands, 49 schools across the Aegean Sea took part in a campaign organised by DAFNI – the Network of Sustainable Greek Islands, in collaboration with the Hellenic Recycling Agency.

It was part of the European Week for Waste Reduction and engaged 1708 students from 28 Greek islands. Teachers together with municipality representatives handed out ecological cloth bags to students, highlighting the importance of re-use for waste reduction – plastic in particular. During the action, participants delivered presentations and discussed the need for product re-use and repair, which will help islands transition into a circular economy path.

This is a particularly important for island regions, where the intense seasonal demand for services takes a heavy toll on both infrastructures and resources, making sustainable resource and waste management an imperative for sustainable local development.

Adding Greek islands on the EWWR map of areas that are frontrunners in waste reduction and responsible resource use is meant to also underscore the potential of islands to emerge as test-beds that can host pilot projects and produce knowledge on smart and efficient resource and infrastructure management, tapping the synergies between energy, transport, water and waste.

Thank you DAFNI and let’s hope for an un-wasted, happy new 2018!

Plastic on quai

Another excellent island journal

The fifteenth issue of ID-Îles Magazine, as always well edited by researcher PhD Laura Corsi, was published late in December. It questions the social and economic changes that the islands have undergone in the last four years. Entrepreneurs filmed back in 2013 testify to their experience: the gardeners of the island of Groix managed to build their shed, the baker & grocer of the island of Sein took a coffee on the docks, and the manufacturer of weathervanes of Ushant continues his activity, but living on the continent.


Louis Brigand and Denis Bredin

After 17 minutes, we meet Denis Bredin and Louis Brigand, speaking about the tight cooperation between the University of Brest and the AIP (l’Association des îles du Ponant), the development of the islands of Brittany, how they managed to show island life is more expensive on islands ans subsequently obtain additional funding from the Region and the State, and the creation of an island product brand called ”Savoir-faire des îles du Ponant” launched in September 2017.


French island product brand site

The ID-Îles Magazine was a project 2011-2014 in cooperation between AIP and the University of Brest. It continues 2014-2018, thanks to the workshop on island entrepreneurship held on the island of Groix in October 2013 with 120 persons (one third entrepreneurs, one third local politicians and one third researchers). That workshop led to a thirteen-islands joint project coordinated by professor Louis Brigand, including ID-Îles, an internet site with all project documentation, and a monthly 26-minute television programme. You can see all the programmes here:

Groix workshops

Workshop on Groix 2013 with géographers Solenn Le Berre and Mathilde Woillez entouring President of AIP Denis Palluel, professor Louis Brigand and Councellor of Groix Claude Guiader

The Wizards of Iž


Iž  [pronounced îːʒ] is a limestone and dolomite island in Croatia with an area of 18 sq km and 615 residents. It is situated an hour’s ship ride from Zadar. Summertime, the island is very popular amongst foreign tourists, largely due to its clear waters and beautiful beaches. It is a ”two-word island”, well known among crossword puzzlers.

Wanting to extend their tourist season and to fund the renovating of the local school, the inhabitats of Iž arranged the first ski race ever on a Dalmatian island. They brought trucks with 60 tons of snow on the ferry to the island. On December 23, the ”Iž Snow Queen Trophy” brought more than a thousand visitors to the island.

The 70 skiers came from Zadar, Split, Zagreb, Slovenia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Austria and even a five-member ski team from Sweden. The winner was a young man from Zadar.

The real winners are the kids of Iz since the proceeds will be used to renovate the local school, with all event costs being covered by sponsors and the Zadar Tourist Board.

Merry Christmas!


Precious Island Journals


Just in time for Christmas, two island journals landed in our postbox: Finnish Skärgård which is celebrating its 40th year, and issue no 170 of Danish Ø-Posten.


Skärgård is a bit more international this time. It has an article  by John Wrede, Micaela Jansson and Pia Prost on ESINs meeting on Orkney, entitled “The island where 130,000 sheep have their backs in the same direction” and features a photo of the inlet of Aberdeen. There is an article written by Dorthe Winter, chairman of the Danish small islands titled “Can you grow old on you island?”. She is raising the important question of equal island and mainland social services and describes how the issue is being handled, right now, in Denmark.

Pia Prost, ESINs most talented island portraiter, has written a both technical and poetical article describing Karlö island, situated far north in the Baltic Sea.



Ø-Posten has a portrait of a family with thee kids moving to Egholm island on the cover.


There is information on Local Action Group work and financing 2017, a short report from each and everyone of the 28 small islands in Denmark (small meaning not a municipality) and on a visit to Anholt island made by some of the boardmembers in October. Anholt is one of the most remote small islands, situated out in Kattegatt. It boasts a yearly cultural festival called (



Without island journals like these and without the people who write, design and publish them, island knowledge would be poor. They describe modern island life, people and politics, ferries and festivals, conflicts and culture. They are precious to us all and I invite everybody to get a subscription, eh well maybe not if you don’t speak Danish or Swedish…

This said, the ESIN Board wishes all islanders of Europe a Merry Christmas and a Sustainable New Year with lots of hopes, happiness and love.

Kökar to receive ¼ million EUR in Interreg funding

Tobisgrissla Norrharu

To make a long-term sustainability plan, and to develop its bird-watching tourism business, the muncipality of Kökar has been granted 105,000 euro respectively 270,000 euro from the Interreg ”Central Baltic” program.

Much inspired by the Danish islands Omø (En dynamisk Handlingsplan for Omø 2010-2015) and Tunø (Utviklingsplan Tunø i balance 2011-2020), the Kökar plan will cover the next ten years.

Udviklingsplan Tunø i balance (Microsoft Word - 330-handlingsplan_Om370_windows)

The development of bird-watching includes towers, pathways, maps, guide training and a bird watching centre, which in a future project might be extended to include star-gazing, the seas surrounding Kökar, and its bedrock. Islanders have deep knowledge about birds but are mostly concerned with the ones you can eat, while ornithologists also like tits, wood-peckers and eagles. There even is a book called “The Birds’ Kökar” by Ari Linna. It is one of the project’s objectives to merge these two areas of bird-lore.

Ari Linna

Let’s continue to learn from each other in our island network ESIN and to make the best use of Interreg possibilities which we can all be experts on using their online courses in January and February 2018, see


Îles du Ponant energy projects interest “Les îles de la Madeleine” Canada – Québec


First stop : Normandy – Chausey archipelago


Jonathan Lapierre, Formal mayor of îles de la madeleine, and members of the american delegation experiments Hydrogen Bicycle in Saint-Lô  – Normandy – F

english description îles du Ponant

A 11 persons delegation from Québec – Canada, involved in energy transition, visited îles du Ponant last november (19th – 26th). After a visit in Normandy (Chausey archipelago), they went to Ouessant to visit new electricity storage system, renewable production units (solar cells & Sabella tidal current turbine). They met all partners involved in energy transition working on electricity consumption reduction, renewable electricity production, storage & energy management system.


French representants including mayors of îles de Sein, Molène et Ouessant & american visitors on Ushant.

The last visit was on île d’Yeu, the french municipality having the national record of electric vehicules density on its territory.




The next step will may 2018 when a “rendez-vous” is organized on îles de la Madeleine

with support of Coopérationlogo coop franco-québec

     France – Québec.

The subject will be    

“renewable energy in isolated territories and islands.”