Opinion Factsheet  

Entreprenörskap på öar: bidrag till den territoriella sammanhållningen

BGCSDADEELENESETFIFRHRHUITLTLVMTNLPLPTROSKSLSV
Opinion Number: CDR 19/2017
Rapporteur: 
Commission: COTER
Status: Adopted
Date: 12/05/2017
 
Article 174 of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union states that "particular attention shall be paid to rural areas, areas affected by industrial transition, and regions which suffer from severe and permanent natural or demographic handicaps such as the northernmost regions with very low population density and island, cross-border and mountain regions." However, at present it is difficult for islands and entrepreneurs on islands to be aware of all EU instruments, regulations, and funding opportunities because they are dispersed over several European Commission departments and numerous legislative acts. Moreover, a specific dedicated islands support scheme does not exist at EU level. Therefore many local and regional authorities on islands feel that the EU policy framework for regional development on islands should be improved and made more understandable in order for the EU to improve the implementation of the Treaty objective of territorial cohesion. This would help all European Islands to effectively contribute to the EU's strategic agenda to promote inclusive growth. Rapporteur Mrs Maupertuis (FR/EA) presents in this opinion on "Entrepreneurship on Islands- Contributing towards territorial cohesion" concrete ideas and recommendation on how to improve the EU framework for Islands.Sample objective 1
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS



- recalls that Article 174 TFEU states that island regions are in need of particular attention from the EU, that islands should be a particular focus of post-2020 cohesion policy and urges tailored measures to improve their basic condition;

- stresses that island regions have geographic, economic, demographic and social features that are unique to them (in comparison with mainland regions), and that many obstacles that are specific to island development are not captured by using per capita GDP as an indicator;

- stresses that as island markets are often small and remote, mainland businesses are rather reluctant to supply goods or services there, which constitutes a real obstacle to island consumers' and businesses' access to the competitive benefits of the single market;

- recommends, that transport connections and energy supply, key sectors for island businesses to be competitive, be able to benefit from exemptions regarding state aid in the case of islands;

- proposes the establishment of a system of operating assistance for island businesses to offset higher transport costs; given the guidelines on regional aid and the GBER, approval and exemption for such aid should be the same as for the outermost regions and sparsely populated areas;

- calls on the Commission to set up a programme to stimulate innovation processes in island economies;

- recommends setting up a one-stop shop for the islands ("Island Desk") within DG REGIO and developing technical assistance programmes specifically tailored to islands so as to raise awareness about EU funding instruments (and EFSI) and to make them easier to access.

Importance

High
Medium
Low
 

Public Hearing on Entrepreneurship on European Islands

This Public Hearing is a follow-up activity of the CoR opinion on “Entrepreneurship on Islands: contributing towards territorial cohesion” and the opinions on “Smart Island” and “Inclusive Island” initiatives adopted by the EESC .

The majority of insular SMEs are micro-enterprises – with fewer than ten employees – which produce and produce a large part of the economic value in islands.

Craft professions – carpenter, butcher, baker, roofer, metal worker or information technician – are at the heart of European islands communities. They produce mainly within their local base, ensure jobs and vocational training for young and old, and make an essential contribution to innovation in the European economy.
Craft and small enterprises face particular problems due to their small size and limited resources. The globalisation of the economy and enlargements of the EU have also considerably changed the challenges that these enterprises face. Starting up a new business and getting the required capital is a challenge, as is finding the right kind of finance to expand an established business. Due to their limited resources and remoteness they suffer more from red tape and administrative burdens than mainland enterprises.

The public hearing will examine if existing policies and tools to support SMEs are sufficient for insular SMEs or some new tools or mechanism, mentioned also in the opinions, are needed to help these companies to tackle obstacles and participate on a equal foot in the integration process and assure therefore a level playing field.

 
02 Jun