MEPs representing many of Europe’s island communities call for urgent EU intervention to combat COVID-19

Press Release from EFA MEP François Alfonsi (Corsica)

EFA MEP François Alfonsi, together with other MEPs from the cross party SEARICA group, have sent a letter to the President of the European Commission, European Council and Council of the EU, ahead of the next Europe’s Heads of State and Government meeting, calling for EU intervention to prevent Europe’s islands economic collapse as a result of the spread of Coronavirus.

MEPs from the SEARICA group (Seas, Rivers, Islands and Coastal Areas) highlight the vital importance of tourism for island economies – an activity which has effectively been suspended due to the health emergency.

François Alfonsi, Vice Chair of the SEARICA Group and a signatory to the letter has commented:

“Our island economies are proportionally much more dependent on tourism than all other regional economies. This “endemic” fragility must be taken into account in the solidarity mechanisms that the Member States, with the support of European funds, will implement. However, during this global emergency we ask to preserve and maintain unused funds already earmarked for the islands from the 2014/2020 budget.”

He added:

“We welcome the initial measures already announced at EU level to support Europe’s regions. Now we need to go further and we call upon the EU to implement specific emergency measures targeting financial support for Europe’s islands, including a reinforced and adapted solidarity mechanism.

“We also need to extend the flexibility in providing state aid to Europe’s islands for long after the initial phase of the crisis will have passed.

“Now more than ever we need Europe’s solidarity – and financial aid – in order to prevent the economic collapse of Europe’s island economies.”

Read the full press release