From 22 to 23 June 2023, the European Democratic Party (EDP) organised a conference in Martinique on “Overseas Solutions” with its MEP Max Orville. EDP Chairman François Bayrou and Secretary-General Sandro Gozi opened the conference.
Remarks by François Bayrou, Chairman of the EDP
Sandro Gozi stated that the European Democratic Party is the party most committed to issues relating to the outermost regions (ORs). We are committed not only through the work of our parliamentarians in the European institutions and the European Parliament but also because we want to make regional, territorial, cultural, and linguistic diversity a priority. He also believes it is vital to make the overseas territories one of our priorities in our day-to-day work; this has been done and he wants to continue in this direction. It is vital to be present in a fair and equitable way for all our members, wherever they may be.
The conference was held over two days, with three round tables on highly interesting and topical subjects: how to accelerate the ecological and energy transitions in the outermost regions, how to make the outermost regions full employment territories and accelerate their economic development, and the avenues to be explored to strengthen equal opportunities in education for the citizens of these regions. The two-day event was attended by MEPs from the Renew Europe group, businesses, and private sector representatives, as well as local elected representatives and regional authorities.
The EDP has drawn conclusions from this conference and will continue to be at the forefront of defending the interests of the outermost regions and highlighting their high potential.
The EDP is convinced that the ecological transition offers an unprecedented development opportunity for the outermost regions. These regions are the most vulnerable to climate change, but they have immense potential to become centres of innovation.
The EDP believes that it is essential to develop a strong entrepreneurial dynamic by encouraging business start-ups, supporting local entrepreneurs, and promoting innovation.
Another objective is to move towards genuine food sovereignty and promote sustainable agriculture in the outermost regions. By developing environmentally friendly farming practices and investing in local production, the ORs can strengthen their food security and reduce their dependence on imports.
Tourism is also an important sector: the EDP supports the development of tourism with innovative, sustainable, and resilient investments. This includes the creation of European parks for different activities, the preservation of biodiversity and the development of access trails, as well as the promotion of the specific tourist assets of the outermost regions.
The outermost regions are more exposed to climatic hazards than other continental Member States and must therefore be better supported in their transition. By way of illustration, the EDP considers it crucial to combat the sargassum seaweed that pollutes the Caribbean coasts and causes major health, material, and economic damage to all the territories in the Atlantic zone. To this end, the party wishes to develop renewable energy solutions tailored to each OR to promote their energy autonomy, using sources such as solar energy, geothermal energy, biomass, tidal power, and wind power. In addition, the EDP proposes that a greater account be taken of the ORs when implementing the EU Solidarity Fund to finance measures to prevent the risks associated with natural disasters.
The EDP is resolutely committed to maximising the impact of European funds and programmes while responding to the specific needs of each territory. We firmly believe that these actions will strengthen the economy of the ORs and improve the quality of life of their inhabitants. To achieve this, it proposes to simplify administrative procedures, strengthen the powers of the managing authorities, and promote better coordination between the various players involved.
In addition, the EDP puts forward measures to make European citizenship a reality in the outermost regions, by strengthening education and encouraging regional integration. The party also supports the construction of a high-speed internet network in the outermost regions to promote connectivity and digital development.
In conclusion, this conference has enabled us to set new objectives for the ORs. We want the ORs to be at the centre of our concerns and to be recognised for their true worth. They are part of the European Union, and they need to know this and feel it ever more strongly and urgently. These ideas and proposals will therefore be included in the EDP manifesto for the European elections in June 2024.
Towards the new migration pact: Promoting local participation in the European response to the migration challenge
The EDP invites you to take part in this event focused on migration, asylum and refugees on the 23rd of February 2024 in Las Palmas (Gran Canaria).
MEPs Sandro Gozi and Engin Eroglu did a business trip to the Tyrol, Austria. There they met with Liste Fritz and experienced first hand the immense traffic problem in this region.
The EDP will organise in Strasbourg a conference on: European Energy issues.
Amongst the speakers, our Secretary General Sandro Gozi, and our MEPs Christophe Grudler, and Max Orville.