European Union: Additional 10 Million Euros for European Islands

Lauren Simmonds

Good news for Europe’s islands!

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

In Brussels, Croatian MEP Tonino Picula met with Christopher Jones, the Deputy General Director of the European Commission’s Energy Directorate, who confirmed this information and thanked him for the initiative so far, which has already seen 2 million euros approved for European islands.

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 euros has already been approved from the EU budget.

Namely, Picula, together with two colleagues (Alfred Sant and Michela Giuffrida) 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, he managed to obtain the aforementioned 2 million euros for the islands.

“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,” stated Tonino Picula.

Tenders that will be equally accessible to Croatian islands will be announced next month (November 2017), and funds will be allocated within the next two years.

This will provide the less prepared and less developed islands with the opportunity to connect and develop synergies in strategic planning to achieve energy independence. The deadline for applications is January, 2018.

The contracts will be signed in April next year, and the funds will be disbursed by the year 2020. Additionally, a special secretariat will be set up to provide technical assistance for the islands throughout the process.

Picula made use of this move by use of the MP’s opportunity to propose annual actions that are put through the European Commission’s evaluation system and then voted on in the European Parliament.

On behalf of the Commission, Christopher Jones thanked Picula for the initiative and the resources that were successful in being allocated.

“These 2 million euros are a great start! The Commission wants to continue on with this valuable action and is working to increase the budget by an additional 10 million euros from the HORIZON 2020 program. We certainly want to include Croatia’s islands in this process,” noted Jones.

“I’m extremely pleased with today’s meeting! The Ministerial Declaration in May which was signed by 14 member states, has the European Commission’s support and along with the Crete Forum, these are the best indicators [to prove] that we have political support. Therefore, I believe that financial support will be even greater and that our islands will also make use of the funds and technical support that will be available,” concluded Picula.

As part of this same action, the European Islands Energy Forum was established on the 22nd of September (European Energy Islands Forum) in Crete, Greece, and this will track progress, encourage networking, the exchange of experiences, and the transferring of knowledge to the islands themselves. The Forum was opened by Greek Prime Minister Tsipras and European Energy Commissioner Cañete. The aim is to accelerate the transition to clean energy sources, which will ensure the security of supply and favourable energy prices, as well as encourage the creation of new jobs on the islands.

Brussels, Belgium, 11.10.2017.


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