Feedback on European Regional Development Fund & Cohesion Fund 2014-2020 – ex post evaluation



INSULEUR has observed that a consistent and particular attention to insularity as enshrined in Article 174, is missing in Cohesion Policy and therefore from its delivery instruments (ERDF, CF). Indeed, islands in different Member States receive from Cohesion Policy amounts that vary considerably. This lack of consistency shows that the principles laid down in Article 174 TFEU have not been translated into specific budgetary provisions for islands.

A consistent approach to insularity should therefore cover all islands, regardless of their status, size or remoteness. INSULEUR also noted  that here is a strong potential of territorial financing tools for island regions, but improvements should be introduced to simplify their use and to better link them to islands specificities. There are also currently very few incentives to encourage Member States/regions to implement integrated territorial development strategies focusing strictly on the specific issues faced by islands.

> View full feedback HERE 



Feedback on Commission Regulation amending Regulation (EU) No 651/2014 declaring certain categories of aid compatible with the internal market in the application of Article 107 and 108 of the Treaty

The State aid General Block Exemption Regulation ("GBER") declares specific categories of State aid compatible with Article 107 and 108 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU), if they fulfil certain conditions. Aid fulfilling these conditions is exempted from the requirement of prior notification and Commission approval. 

In its feedback, INSULEUR noted with satisfaction the proposed inclusion of Digital Innovation Hubs, which  represents an important step forward given the need for insular business entities to support and boost their digital transformation of both production and development processes of services and applications, especially those in the tourism and agricultural sectors. INSULEUR also noted that since many islands aspire to become
pioneers of sustainable tourism over the coming years, they are therefore backing the implementation of sustainable mobility practices, which may include also the conversion of the commercial fleets of rental car companies to electric vehicles; to this end it is important to note whether hybrid vehicles will be included in the GBER. The inclusion of hydrogen under the proposed Regulation is also an important development given the importance of the role of hydrogen in decarbonising EU islands and the ability of hydrogen & associated technologies to decarbonise islands, while generating jobs and growth needed for their economic recovery. For EU Islands, empowering citizens and small producers under the concept of Renewable (REDII) or Citizens (EMD) Energy Communities is also of outermost importance as it allows direct participation in the energy transition by jointly investing in, producing, selling and distributing renewable energy. INSULEUR also commented that  an important inclusion in this Regulation should be the assistance provided by the Governments to deploy new technologies on islands, prior to these being launched on a national level since they have proved to form ideal test beds for the deployment of new technologies.

> View full feedback HERE


EC Consultation on the transition pathway for tourism - EUROCHAMBRES Position Paper


 The update of the EU Industrial Strategy highlights the need to accelerate the green and digital transition of EU industry and its ecosystems. It proposes cocreation with industry, public authorities, social partners and other stakeholders.

To initiate the co-creation process, the Commission prepared a staff working document outlining possible scenarios for a transition pathway toward a more resilient, sustainable and innovative tourism ecosystem, without however any mention to the insular dimension of this topic.

Stakeholders were then invited to reflect and contribute to the scenarios for 2030 and it is within this framework that Eurochambres drafted and contributed to the Consultation with a respective Position Paper listing key enablers for the transition of the tourism ecosystem and proposing concrete actions, commitments and investments at sectoral, national and regional levels. 

Herewith attached you will find Eurochambres Position paper including INSULEUR's contribution, which reflects and focuses on EU islands specific needs with respect to the 3 dimensions of the tourism ecosystem as developed in the EC staff working document.

Based on the input received, the EC will deepen and focus the debate with dedicated stakeholder workshops this autumn.
We will be keeping you posted on further developments, hoping that through our common intervention with ECH, the insular dimension will also be part of it.



Public consultation on the 'Revision of the EU geographical indications (GIs) systems in agricultural products and foodstuffs, wines and spirit drinks'

The European Union protects almost 3.400 names of specific products - agricultural products and foodstuffs, fishery and aquaculture products, wines, spirit drinks and aromatised wine products - under one of its quality schemes. Among them, the Geographical Indications Scheme, comprising Protected Designations of Origin (PDO), Protected Geographical Indications (PGI) and Geographical indications (GI), confers intellectual property rights, granting the right to producers in a defined geographical area to use the registered name if they comply with a product specification. Alongside the Geographical Indications Scheme, the Traditional Specialities Guaranteed scheme (TSG) attests traditional production methods and can be produced anywhere as long as the producers comply with the corresponding product specification

INSULEUR took an active role in this public consultation launched by the EC which invites citizens, organisations, and national and regional public authorities to contribute to the assessment of how to strengthen geographical indications' system by inviting its members to fill in an online questionnaire (14 questions) in order to include and share their views on the aspects of the upcoming EU proposal for regulation. The aim was to gather views on the major challenges identified that would need to be addressed in the planned revision as well as their underlying causes, the set of policy options that can be envisaged to address these challenges and the impacts stemming from these different options.

The results of the consultation will inform the Impact Assessment, accompanying the Commission proposal for revising the EU geographical indications scheme. To be noted, the Commission has published on 30 November 2020 a Roadmap on the EU-wide protection of geographical indications for non-agricultural products.

The feedback period was open until 09 April 2021 (midnight Brussels time)






Public consultation on Reducing disparities in the EU – 8th report on economic, social and territorial cohesion

The EU Commission shall submit every three years a report to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, on the progress towards achieving economic, social and territorial cohesion in the EU. The next report is to be adopted in 2021 and shall cover:

1. A record of progress made towards achieving economic, social and territorial cohesion, including the socio-economic situation of regions as well as the integration of EU priorities;
2. A record of the role of the funds, the European Investment Bank funding as well as the effect of other EU and national policies, on the progress made;
3. Where appropriate an indication of future EU measures and policies necessary to strengthen cohesion, as well as to deliver EU priorities.
In addition, this 8th report will include a short description of the initial regional impact of COVID-19 as well providing the baseline against which the next cohesion report can assess this impact more comprehensively

INSULEUR took an active role in this public consultation by submitting a position paper highlighting the importance of EU islands and the need for a targeted and flexible approach towards insularity which is constantly and again currently missing in Cohesion Policy and therefore Cohesion Reports which will be taken into account for further development and fine tuning of the initiative. The Commission will then summarize the input received in a synopsis report explaining how the input will be taken on board and, if applicable, why certain suggestions can't be taken up.

The results of the consultation will inform the Impact Assessment, accompanying the Commission proposal for revising the EU geographical indications scheme. To be noted, the Commission has published on 30 November 2020 a Roadmap on the EU-wide protection of geographical indications for non-agricultural products.

The feedback period was open until 08 March 2021 (midnight Brussels time)






Public consultation on EU-wide protection of geographical indications for non-agricultural products

There is currently no EU-wide system for protecting the geographical indications of non-agricultural products (such as handicrafts and industrial goods). However, such products are often an important part of local identity, attract tourism and create jobs. A uniform system would in particular:

• help producers stay competitive in niche markets
• provide consumers with better information about the authenticity of products
• boost regional economies.

The EU Commission has therefore launched a consultation in order to gather stakeholder views for further development and fine tuning of the initiative.

INSULEUR participated to it by reminding that, in line with its 20 years efforts to ensure sustainability and diversification of EU island's economies, INSULEUR gives its full support to this proposal for regulation of EU-wide protection of geographical indications for non-agricultural products.

Indeed, the endemic fragility of islands which have been further severely hit by the pandemic, led to a significant reduction in their economic activity and Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and a substantial increase in unemployment, making them the ones suffering some of the most severe economic setbacks and therefore revealing even more the continued/growing presence of regional and intraregional inequalities, affecting the economies and the development of insular regions. Therefore, such initiative would not only indeed help boost insular economies and insular producers stay competitive but would also:

• Secure that Europe's traditional knowledge and cultural heritage does not vanish over time due to international competition of (misleadingly) similarly branded products in third non-EU countries
• Secure jobs and empower the youth in particular that tend to leave the islands by giving them the incentive to be part of a potentially flourishing market as well as increased opportunities of professional development.
• Ensure diversification of islands economies by giving them the opportunity to stay productive and competitive beyond the traditional touristic period of the year.

Over the past years, EU islands gained significant recognition and economic benefits from their PGI and PDO agri-food products as well as a prominent place on the international gastronomic scene. INSULEUR strongly believes that Handicraft and industrial goods deserve the same approach.





Public consultation on Review of the Regional Aid Guidelines (RAG) 2014-2020

In 2019, the Commission launched an evaluation of the regional aid framework in the context of the Fitness Check of the 2012 State aid modernisation package to assess if the regional aid guidelines were still fit for purpose. The preliminary results showed that the rules worked in principle well, but require some improvements to reflect economic developments. Based on these evaluation results, the guidelines were revised, also taking new policy objectives into account.

The objective of this consultation was to gather stakeholder views on the draft regional aid guidelines.

INSULEUR participated to it by reminding that the underlying problem of regional aid is that it automatically assists regions which are classified under NUTS 2 classification and that the current proposed guidelines are going to retain the status quo.




Review of EU passenger ship safety legislation


By the end of the year, the European Commission is going to propose news legislative mesures to reinforce EU passenger ship safety. This revision of the current legislation is a reply to the recent Costa Concordia accident.


According to Siim Kallas, commissioner for transports, this revision is going to promote the adoption of voluntary measures, to reinforce implementation and control of the rules as well as to adopt additional measures. The main issue remains the size of the ships and the number of passengers.



In order to associate all stakeholders to this legislative revision preparation, a public consultation had been opened. To take part in it : click here.



Challenges and Opportunities for Maritime and Coastal Tourism in the EU


A public consultation on maritime and coastal tourism has been launched last week at the joint initiative of Vice-president Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, and Maria Damanaki, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. Indeed, in the context of the Europe 2020 Strategy, and in particular the Blue Growth concept (sustainable growth from oceans, seas and coasts), coastal and maritime tourism will have an important role to play, requiring a thorough analysis and involvement of all interested parties.


Therefore, the consultation aims at defining what actions can be envisaged to reap the full potential of a sustainable and smart coastal and maritime tourism. More specifically, the three main axes of the questionnaire are:

  I - How to render maritime and coastal tourism more competitive?

 II - How to address environmental implications of tourism and its socio-cultural aspects?

III- How to stimulate tourists from third countries to visit Europe and encouraging EU nationals to discover coastal regions?


All stakeholders are invited to submit their comments and suggestions by 9 July 2012.



European Tourism Label for Quality Systems


To increase the competitiveness of the European tourism sector and to achieving a EU level playing field for providing high-quality tourism service throughout Europe, the European commission is planning to create a "European Tourism Label for Quality Systems" that would unify the wide range of initiative that currently exist.


The objective of this public consultation is to define the principles and criteria to be used by European tourism stakeholders for ensuring the development and provision of quality tourism within the EU.



The consultation deals with the issues of the definition of such a system, its possible implementation, the criteria to be selected and its impact.



It is a great opportunity to defend European island tourism and to make your voice heard !



Consultation on the future of the Maritime Antitrust Guidelines


A public consultation with stakeholders was launched by the European commission in order to prepare the revision of the current guidelines on maritime transport services.



The current guidelines for operators active in liner shipping and tramp vessel services states how to assess compliance of their business practices with EU competition rules. These temporary guidelines will come to an end on September 2013 and the future orientations are supposed to suppress progressively all sectorial exemptions. As a result, the public consultation focuses on whether there is still a need for sector specific guidelines in the maritime transport sector.



To take part in the consultation, please follow this link.



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