European Small Islands Federation

Archive for Tonino Picula

The 11th Nation


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.





Public Hearing on the Future for Islands


On a short visit to Malta, ESIN tries to be the voice of Europe’s two thousand small islands in a ‘Public Hearing’ arranged by EESC on the subject ‘What future for islands in the European Union”
I am sad to find Vasilis Margaras much detested study here, where he states that the number of small islands in Europe is 228, but I do comment on it. I am puzzled when the EESC president asks ‘What is the really the difference between an island and the French countryside?”
Luckily, there are many smart persons here to answer such a question: Marie-Antoinette Maupertius from the Committee of Regions (who is working on an opinion on entrepreneurship on islands), George Assonitis from INSULEUR, Malta Minister for Economy Chris Cardona, professor Caroline Buts and Rapporteur Stefano Mallia stating: “This debate on islands is like Brexit: a wake-up call.”
We are some 40 people discussing during three hours. I get the opportunity to speak to Tonino Picula, Vice Chair of the Parliament Intergroup for Islands, and Nektarios Santorinios, Greek Vice Minister of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy, regarding the project on Water Saving on eight european islands that we are about to start.
Much is happening in our european union now, our European Union.


Denis Barić re-elected President of Croatian islands

Baric & PiculaDenis Barić and Tonino Picula

Fifteen years have passed since the Croatian Islands Parliament (Otočni Sabor) was founded. The last year has been focused on the fight for the preservation of small-scale fishing, the consequences of the implementation of the Ordnance on conditions and manner of exercising the right to preferential transport on the routes in the public maritime transport, the 63rd session of the Committee on Environment and Nature of the Croatian Parliament on the issue of research and exploitation of hydrocarbons in the Adriatic, participation in two petitions (for helicopter emergency medical assistance and “against cancer in two steps”), actions for fair island products, for island culture, and becoming a member of ESIN.

– ”Living on an island, by birth or choice, must not be an obstacle to the development aspirations of a modern man”, says Denis Barić.

At the Islands Parliament meeting, MEP Tonino Picula pointed out that all availabe data shows the average national income of an islander is much lower than that of a mainlander.

– We will try to meet a common desire to form an independent Croatian cluster for energy sustainability of the islands. We plan to strengthen the agricultural cooperatives on the islands in order to increase employability of young people. We are especially proud that our oldest member, 100-year-old Anti Dragić, just published his book “Life on the island – economic life on the islands between the two world wars,” says Denis Barić, who was re-elected as President of the Islands Parliament of Croatia on the 18th of May.


Small Island Survival Kit

Small island survival kitTonino-Picula

Today I presented a “Small Islands Survival Kit” at a conference in Dubrovnik, being here as the vice president of ESIN on personal invitation of Tonino Picula, born on the small island Mali Losinj, member of the European Parliament, vice chair of the important Islands Intergroup and Croatia’s first foreign minister.

I used examples from the Aland archipelago and from the Irish Cork islands. Croatian newspapers report that “Christian Pleijel iz Európske federacije malih otoka (ESIN) pohvalio je Irce koji su napravili” atlas otoka “koji prikazuje koliko ljudi Zivi na otocima mare conditioned, kako su izvori svježe vode raspoređeni po otoku, koliko see energije in otpada Trosi svaki dan na jedan vrlo točan, faktički način. Strategija kp razvijena u tijesnoj suradnji otoka in općine, rekao kp Pleijel … ” … which, as you all understand, means: “Christian Pleijel of the European Small Islands Federation (ESIN) praised Ireland who have made an integrated strategy for its seven islands that identify population, water, energy and waste in a very accurate, objective way. The strategy was developed in close cooperation between the islands and the county said Pleijel. ”

I refer to the West Cork Islands Integrated Strategy, an ambitious work everybody should study. To make my references understandable I placed Åland and the West Cork islands in the Adriatic Sea. And yes, I opened the Survival Kit and showed them what’s inside.

Adriatiska havet3