INSULEUR sends Letter to the Presidents of the main European Institutions
On the 18 June 2020, INSULEUR through its President Joseph Borg sent a letter to Ursula Von Der Leyen (President of the European Commission), David Maria Sassoli (President of the European Parliament), and Charles Michel (President of the European Council) on ‘Ensuring an Adequate Recovery in Islands’. The Network of Insular Chambers of the European Union-INSULEUR (www.insuleur.eu) welcomed the European Commission’s proposed recovery instrument, Next Generation EU, and the proposed changes to the Multi Annual Financial Framework 2021-2027.
Through this letter INSULEUR highlighted the difficulties faced by island economies, during the COVID-19 pandemic mainly because of: (a) limited accessibility; (b) isolation; (c) high dependence on a narrow range of economic activities – in some cases reliant solely on tourism; (d) inexistent or inadequate health care facilities; (e) the availability of few resources due to their small size; and (f) insignificant internal markets. All of these factors have left islands particular exposed during the pandemic.
The letter highlighted that it is important that the Recovery Package of the EU is channeled to give priority to regions with economies which have been impacted most negatively by the COVID-19 pandemic, and which also have limited capacity and resources to recover from its effect. Such an approach should ensure a level playing field for all insular businesses.
INSULEUR reiterated the need for the implementation of a specific strategy for EU islands with an appropriate policy/legislative framework that encompasses a much needed territorial dimension at all levels: European, national, and regional/ local.
Such a territorial dimension is also required in the EU State Aid Framework. An urgent and immediate component of this framework should be a differentiated, but permanent state aid regime for islands where insularity would be recognized as a permanent feature affecting negatively, directly and indirectly islands’ economies. This framework would ensure the sustainable development of islands at pari passu with the mainland.
Through this communication INSULEUR also proposed a reduced VAT regime for islands because “islands need to be given extra incentives to make their economies more attractive. This would be an important contributor towards ensuring the levelling of regional disparities across the EU”.
The Press Release issued by INSULEUR in this regard can be accessed here.