After 2 years, members of the Atlantic Arc Commission (AAC) met on the 24th and 25th of May for their 2022 General Assembly in San Sebastian, Basque Country.
Iñigo Urkullu, President of the Basque Government and Atlantic Arc Commission who was elected as President of the Atlantic Arc Commission for a second term opened the event. He called AAC regions to maintain the strong collaboration to reach a mandate from the EU Council to EU Commission for an Atlantic Macro region in 2022-24.
During the meeting, a political declaration was approved, highlighting that the Atlantic maritime basin "represents a strong asset that supports the prosperity of Europe and is key to unlocking the potential of a sustainable blue economy to mitigate climate change." It also underlines that the ocean “is the main climate regulator and a vital producer of renewable energy from winds, tides and waves”. It also, he adds, is home to a rich biodiversity, is a resource for global food security and human health, and a driver of economic activities such as fishing, transportation, shipbuilding, trade, tourism, renewable energy, research and health products.
The declaration recalls that, the Atlantic area is facing many challenges, such as the socioeconomic impact of COVID-19, the effects of Brexit, the climate crisis with rising sea levels and associated coastal erosion, the loss of biodiversity, as well as the increase in energy prices, which together are causing serious damage to the environment and the economy of the entire Atlantic coast. For all these reasons, the national governments call on the EU institutions “to respect the principle of subsidiarity when developing policies with territorial impact and finance programs that support regional investment. Governance at various levels, including the Atlantic Regions, is key”, he indicates.
The general assembly ratified, through the agreed document, its commitment to renewable energies on the high seas, and suggested "the development of marine renewable energy projects within the framework of the Recovery and Resilience Fund with the participation of regional authorities". In this sense, ACC demanded that the process be accelerated to give a mandate to the European Commission in order to create an Atlantic Maritime Macro Region, "because this will provide greater political momentum and better coordination of projects at all levels, which will result in global benefits for the Atlantic façade”.
The Atlantic Arc Commission Activity Report 2021-2022 was presented to highlight that the AAC Regions are at the forefront to raise the regional voices at the EU level on crucial dossiers for the Atlantic.