Last Updated on Friday, 13 May, 2022 at 10:03 pm by Andre Camilleri
“We want to continue working towards an effective policy which takes into due account our regions and islands.”
In the European Week dedicated to Innovative Regions, MEP Josianne Cutajar was chosen as the only MEP to address a conference on innovation in Europe in Paris, France.
The aim of this conference, which was organized at the Paris-Saclay University under the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union together with the European Commission, was to raise awareness and discuss a stronger innovation policy, a policy that also reaches European islands. While Europe lags behind other global competitors, such as China and the US, this sector has a lot of potential as Europe already has a high-quality research system. “What we want to improve is the link between research and innovation; the way we translate research into the development of products and services on the market that not only broaden economic opportunities and improve the EU’s competitiveness, but also help find solutions to the most pressing societal challenges, including in the healthcare sector,” said MEP Cutajar.
Josianne Cutajar stressed that innovation, industrial policy and regional development have to go hand in hand. This could help in ensuring that the gap between the most innovative regions, usually urban and central areas, and other regions facing obstacles to innovation, usually those on the periphery is addressed.
Meanwhile, as part of her work on regional policy, MEP Cutajar was also invited to address the Annual General Meeting of the Conference of Peripheral and Maritime Regions (CPMR) by the Islands Commission taking place on the island of Gotland in Sweden. This also in her capacity as Vice Chair of the SEArica Intergroup as well as the negotiator on behalf of the Socialists on the report on Islands and Regional Policy, which calls for a Pact by the European Union with its islands.
During her keynote speech, MEP Cutajar stressed that although islands and remote areas have different cultures and economic practices, they are still united in the everyday challenges they face, especially those from the point of view of insularity emanating from their geographical location and additional costs such as in the field of transport.
“These challenges should fill us with more courage in order to keep working for much needed sustainable development for remote and island regions in the European Union, where we need to push specific priorities such as transport and mobility, digital connectivity, support towards our businesses and sustainable tourism,” noted Dr Cutajar.
MEP Cutajar concluded by saying that with joint efforts with local authorities and stakeholders and with more focused work, we must continue to ensure that maritime and island regions in the periphery are better connected and continue to develop economically and advance their technological and innovative resources. This should be done while also helping the said islands reach their full potential in the environmental and digital transitions that we are working towards.