European Small Islands Federation

Archive for CPMR

Islands Initiative Secretariat

Winter Island Stockholm

Thanks to the remarkable and unfailing work of Kostas Komninos and Alkisti Florou at DAFNI, the consortium in which ESIN is one of 26 partners and which is headed by CPMR, has submitted our application for the Islands Initiative Secretariat (re Call for Tenders ENER/B#2017-462). Small islands are part of a major European initiative.


To be an island should not be a problem but a pillar of development!


Malta 2017ESIN chair Camille Dressler took part in the CPMR Islands Commission annual general meeting which was hosted on Gozo, Malta’s smaller island, seen above with Kostas Komninos from DAFNI, Joseph Borg, Gozo Chamber of Commerce and a lady from Orkney.

The meeting brought together island regions from the North to the South of Europe to look at the future of Cohesion Policy post-2020.  As an observer member, the European Small Islands Federation was extremely pleased to see some very strong principles being reiterated:

– Islands must think globally and act locally

– One size does not dictate all nor add value to a nation

– It is important to bridge the gap between the EU and policies

– It is crucial to get rid of bureaucratic barriers and help micro, small and medium size enterprises through changes to State Aid rules for islands and a rise in De minimis level at least in line with inflation.

– The Cohesion Policy, as a fundamental pillar of EU construction, must act as a forward looking policy bringing EU citizens together

– There must be a new way to look ar shipping issues

– There should be social policies for the islands

– There should be Special funding packages for the islands

– To serve the islands adequately, there must be a place-based approach to the EU Development and Territorial Cohesion Policy.

Vasco Cordeiro

Island Commission President Vasco Cordeiro: “We MUST SPEAK VERY CLEARLY AND VERY LOUDLY ABOUT THE ISLANDS’ NEEDS, to be an island should nto be a problem but a pillar of development!”

Eleni Marianou

CPRM island Commission secretary Eleni Marianou on the future of the EU: The CPMR needs to make a response to the EU White Paper and respond to the key challenges of competiveness, investment and Territorial Cohesion. It needs a strong voice and think of target audiences: EU institutions, National governments, EU Regions, Citizens and Young People. Response includes making the case for EU cooperation based on CPMR principles of balanced Territorial Principles, solidarity between EU and its regions, championing the position of regions in EU policy-making.  CPMR needs to prepare for a strong lobbying campaign prior to and during the EU parliamentary elections in 2018- 2019.

Ioannis Spilanis

Professor Ioannis Spilanis from the University of Aegean: 5% of EU population live on islands. Their access to the Single market is NOT equal to the access enjoyed by other parts of the EU. Insularity has a negative aspect on businesses and people and Brexit will make it worse by reducing the number of islands in the EU and the overall funding share. EU Sectoral policies are without differentiation. For the islands to realise their potential, EU policies need to include insularity clauses. For this reason, a new island typology is needed. Current indicators are woefully inadequate: new indicators are required to describe the islands situation as the classification used in NUTS2 and NUTS3 is not good enough.  (NUTS 3 islands are drowned in the NUTS2 areas). To achieve the EU’s principles of Territorial Cohesion and Sustainability, the development model needs to be changed to include Equal opportunities for the islands and Green island policies.

Spilanis Malta 2017

CPMR proposal:

– We need to communicate what the EU Cohesion Policy stands for.

– We need to provide pertinent examples and make our voices heard for a balanced territorial approach to succeed.

– CPMR’s proposal is for the distribution of funds in NUTS2 areas to be done in a way that favours ESF spending in proportion to the levels of island population: We are asking that the member states offer at least a proportion of their ESF funds to their island population in line with the percentage of population they represent.

Miriam DalliMEP MEP Myriam Dalli: Islands need to have a Can do attitude and islands need to access support to realise their ambitions.


Entreprise on islands with INSULEUR president Georgios  Benetos: No economy of scale  for the islands. Added costs of insularity needs to be taken into account. Access to credit and finance is more complicated. VAT should be lower as it is already on some islands ( Corsica, Heilgoland, no VAT in Faroes). There should be a lower level of taxation for islands to help small and medium enterprises as well as micro-enterprises.

CPMR Annual General Meeting


Today, ESIN chair Camille  Dressler is taking part in the CPMR Islands Commission annual general meeting on Gozo, see

Up for discussion and debate are the island’s case for a post 2020 cohesion policy; islands as pioneers towards energy transission and policy to support island investment, accessibility and entrepreneurship.

Gozo March 207

Says Camille: “Malta’s EU presidency is intent on re-shaping the EU’s approach to Island issues: today we heard the many ways this will be done, starting with a need to refine Eurostat’s approach to island statistics to ensure sectoral policies are differentiated. We all agreed there is a real need to change the current development model to truly achieve the EU principlesof cohesion and sustainability. The CPMR is working hard to make this happen and we in ESIN are playing our part, alongside Kostas from the Smart Island Declaration, Karen from Orkney Council’s Our islands Our future, and actors on the ground like Joseph Borg from the Gozo Chamber of Commerce!”

CPMR Agenda

CPMR Islands Commission’s Annual General Meeting


ESIN’s man Elefterios Kechagioglou has arrived to the CPMR Islands Commission’s 36th Annual General Meeting. It takes place in Rhodos from 19 to 20 May and will address the topic: “What realities and what opportunities for islands in a changing Europe?”

The first session focuses on Islands and Cohesion Policy where several EU institutions representatives are invited to address CPMR island-members and share with them their views on how islands’ needs can be better taken into account in cohesion policy. Corina CRETU, Commissioner for Regional Policy from the European Commission, Giorgos STATHAKIS, Minister of Economy, Development and Tourism from Greece, while from the European Parliament Dimitris PAPADIMOULIS, member of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON), Vice-Chair of the European Parliament, and Tonino PICULA, Vice-Chair of the SEARICA Intergroup, Jan OLBRYCHT, Member of the Committee on Budgets (BUDG) are invited to intervene.

Ther is also a presentation by Kostas KOMNINOS (DAFNI) on the Pact of Islands.

A second session will address “the Islands as (un)equal in the internal market: The role of State Aid” where two MEPS, namely Alfred SANT, Member of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) and Maria SPYRAKI, Member of the Committee on Regional Development (REGI), are invited to exchange with CPMR island-members on how State Aid can be used to address the overcosts that islands face. Inthis context

Last but not least, the emergencies that the Mediterranean regions have faced and the solutions that regional authorities can deliver to address the migration crisis will be put forward in a last debate session on “The reality of the migration crisis: Challenges and opportunities for cooperation”.  Dimitris AVRAMOPOULOS, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship is invited to share his views and provide to CPMR island-members some insights on the European Commission proposals. From the European Parliament, Elissavet VOZEMBERG -VRIONIDI and Miltiadis KYRKOS, Members of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, are invited to join the debate and share their views.

Agenda CPMR Rhodos

Off the Coast of Europe

Off the Coast of Europe

Off the Coast of Europe

The 150-page Eurisles publication Off the coast of Europe, commissioned by CPMR, was published in 2002. It emphasized that although islands are considerably diverse they have common social, economic and environmental challenges. These represent various structural constraints that result in multiple consequences, such as:

(1) A below average GDP per capita and higher cost of living due to insularity;

(2) Small size of markets and weaker competition result in lower wages and reflect the lower living standards present on islands;

(3) The exceptional environment of islands is often threatened by the seasonality of the tourism industry and the vulnerability to climatic and seismic events, apart from their being more exposed to environmental disasters.

These vulnerabilities are compounded by other difficulties such as the fragmentation of territories due to poor accessibility.

The study also entered into the effectiveness, or otherwise, of EU polices in respect of islands and the impact of certain policies on European islands. EU state and regional aid and agricultural and fisheries aid did (and do) not always favour islands because island dimensions are not always taken into consideration when it comes to planning or designing polices.

The study proposed a new deal between the EU and its islands, also in the light of the then enlargement of the EU to the ten new member states. It also mentioned the need to use appropriate indicators to help monitor policies and insisted on the necessity to regard islands as a distinct space in EU statistics and in the EU policies drawn upon them.

It is said to exist in a French version too, but I haven’t fount it (yet).