A brief by Tamara Guirao, CAAC Coordinator
The Atlantic Strategy must be defined consistently with the future of the cohesion policy in its three dimensions: social, economic and territorial. In this sense, as advanced by the Common Strategic Framework, the Strategy should be mainstreamed in the Partnership Contracts and the various operational programmes, including ESF. It should also take into account the urban factor as an engine for growth in the EU; recognising Atlantic cities as essential poles for sustainable and cohesive development.
In the view of the diverse documents issued by the European Institutions we may say that the social aspects should be enhanced. It is essential to provide the Strategy with an urban dimension, but, above all, with a human dimension.
The Commission’s Communication on the Atlantic limited social development to Maritime Affairs and the training for employment. This issue should be treated more ambitiously, in terms of solidarity and welfare. Topics like the Knowledge Economy and entrepreneurship should be tackled from a social perspective, and the Action Plan may include flagship projects on Entrepreneurship and the New Economy.
Social Innovation must also find its place in the Strategy, for instance through the lessons learned at the ANATOLE project, implementing “Economy of proximity”(short delivery chains.) Based on the direct exchange between producers and consumers in the same territory and managed by cities, this system strengthens not only the local economy, but food security, biodiversity and agricultural and fisheries sectors’ employment.
The Strategy should also ensure wide ownership on the implementation of this Action Plan. It is fundamental to “put a face on the Atlantic strategy“, a known, friendly face: the Mayor, the President, the Rector… All levels of Government must participate, but specially citizens. The communication of the Commission mentioned the establishment of “Local Action Groups”, whose activity and implementation are still pending. The setting of these Groups has to be carefully defined and may be supported by local authorities, which have the experience through programmes like URBACT, FARNET, LEADER and Europe for Citizens.
Finally, this strategy must find its identity. A successful implementation requires good communication. There comes the importance of initiatives such as the Atlantic City of the Year, which will be launched on March 18th, the Atlantic Day that we will celebrate the first week of July in Saint Nazaire… Initiatives representing an unique occasion to humanize the strategy and to which we would like to invite you to participate.