Representatives of island communities from all over Europe join together in Palma to develop a common strategy for European islands

The European Free Alliance, Coppieters Foundation and Darder-Mascaró Foundation debate on the possibility to establish a special status for EU islands

“European islands have some particularities that cause inequalities compared to the mainland. For this reason, the European Union must be capable to treat their necessities in a special manner and overcome territorial inequalities”. This is how the President of the European Free Alliance, Lorena López de Lacalle, explains the goal of the event “Towards a European insular strategy”, which was hold on the 11th and 12th of November in Palma, Mallorca.

The event, organized by EFA Islands Forum, Coppieters Foundation and Darder-Mascaró Foundation counts on the participation of important political representatives from island communities from all over Europe. The debates will focused on the condition of insularity, economic and environment challenges caused by tourism, and the possibility to establish a European islands statute to treat islands’ necessities properly. “European election in 2024 will be very important”, said Jordi Solé. “A strong EFA voice will be necessary to defend more than ever the demands of the islands”.

“These forums and collaborations are key for islands to become stronger”, explained Més per Mallorca Coordinator, Lluís Apesteguia. “Islands have an important weight in the EU, more than 20 million citizens live there, but our weight is also relative because we are small and peripheric territories”. “We need to act united to make stronger pressure in front of the states and the EU. We don’t want our economy to be sustained by tourism and services. To correct this, we need to include the islands axis in the European agenda”, he concluded.

Més per Menorca Coordinator, Miquel Àngel Maria, agreed: “The Lisboa Treaties included for the first time being an island as a factor of inequality. But we still don’t have solutions”, sentenced Maria, who highlights the need to build synergies with other political parties from island communities. “For us, the solutions proposed by Corsica are really interesting. They approved the creation of a special status for the Island’s residents, which would have been be useful to regulate, for example, housing problems”, he explained. “The French central parties blocked the initiative, but for us, it is a very interesting solution”, he concluded.

The Coordinators of Més per Mallorca and Més per Menorca showed their satisfaction with the interest that EFA representatives have shown in improving the islands’ conditions. During the event, the MEP and EFA Secretary General Jordi Solé also presented the report “The impact of the European Union policies on the Mediterranean islands”, promoted by EFA Group in the European Parliament and developed by Joan David Janer Torrens, Professor of the Balearic Islands University, who also took part in the event. This report was a commitment agreed upon between Jordi Solé and Mallorca and Menorca political representatives during a visit to the Islands that took place last February.

European elections in 2024

The European Free Alliance and its 9 MEPs are the channels through which the demands of all our member parties reach European institutions. “We are the only European political party that defends the People’s right to decide for a more sustainable, equal, and fair present and future”, said EFA President Lorena López de Lacalle. “We have parties from islands all around Europe”. In the north, we are in the Åland Islands, in Scotland, and in Frisland. In the Mediterranean we are represented in Mallorca, Corsica, or Sicily. This allows us to work together on the particularities that affect islands for their condition”, she concluded.

Jordi Solé MEP focused on next European elections, which will be in 2024, and where EFA will have the opportunity to grow and have a stronger voice. “It is necessary that EFA has a strong voice to defend the demands of the islands”, concludes the MEP.