The CPMR North Sea Commission Executive Committee met in Brussels on October 11 to discuss strategic issues such as Brexit developments, updates from CMPR and Interreg as well as reports from the priority areas.
Kerstin Brunnström, President of the CPMR North Sea Commission, welcomed the Executive Committee members to the meeting and presented a warm welcome to the newest NSC-member, West-Vlaanderen.
Reports from the NSC 2020 priority areas
The meeting continued with reports from the NSC 2020 priority areas. Cllr. Anders Fasth, Chair of Marine Resources Group presented the group’s work with marine litter and a new cooperation agreement between NSC and KIMO International. Fasth also announced that he is stepping down as Chair of the MRG and the members of the Executive Committee thanked him for his long-time work. Cllr. Preben Friis-Hauge, Chair of Transport Group presented the group’s work with amendment proposals to the European Parliament on transport in cohesion policy and CEF post 2020. This was followed by a report on the group’s resolution on shoreside power in cruise industry, adopted by the ABM, and the follow-up discussions between the advisor and the cruise industry.
Cllr. Jimmy Gray, Chair of Energy and Climate Change Group, highlighted the group’s work on developing a NSC hydrogen position and the continuous work with the member regions on energy transition. Gray presented a brochure produced by the group regarding the climate change adaption in the North Sea. Finally, a report on the work with attractive and sustainable communities was delivered by Geir Sør-Reime, advisor of the Smart Regions Group. Sør-Reime highlighted the SRG’s work with appointing member regions to be task holders for the different key action areas.
Brexit, updates from CPMR and Interreg
Other strategic issues were discussed, starting with Cllr. Nienke Homan, Chair of the Brexit Task Force. Homan presented the current status of the Brexit negotiations, the most difficult part being how to avoid a hard customs border on Ireland. Several members of the Executive Committee highlighted their ongoing national and regional discussions on Brexit and possible outcomes.
The Brexit discussions was followed by a presentation given by Eleni Marianou, CPMR Secretary General, on the current work of the CPMR. Marianou emphasied CPMR’s cooperation and dialogue with the European Commission on cohesion policy and the future EU budget. Sarah Holsen, Project Advisor Interreg North Sea Secretariat, informed the members on the current status of the Interreg North Sea Programme and highlighted a couple of projects where some of the NSC member regions are active.
External presentations where made by Jan Molema and Frederik Deloof from the Benelux Secretariat on the North Seas energy cooperation and by Pekka Jounila, DG Region, European Commission on the future of European Territorial Cooperation. Molema and Deloof presented the collaboration between ten North Sea states and the EU to facilitate the development of offshore wind. Jounila’s presentation was followed by a discussion primarily concerning the member regions’ reactions to the new Interreg proposals and the cross-border cooperation programmes.
Councillor Michiel Rijsberman, Flevoland, was elected new Chair of the Brexit taskforce. Mr Rijsberman is already Vice Chair of the Brexit intergroup of the Committee of Regions.
Post 2020 NSC strategy and Annual Business Meeting 2019
Magnus Engelbrektsson, Executive Secretary NSC, presented the ongoing work with the Post 2020 NSR strategy, which will be the theme for the ExCom meeting in January. Engelbrektsson also informed the Executive Committee that Region Västra Götaland has offered to host the Annual Business Meeting and North Sea Conference 2019. The Presidency was mandated to set the date in coordination with the host region.