9 May: Some thoughts on Atlantic Europe

Atlantic Arc or Atlantic Area? Both and none: A brief by Tamara Guirao CAAC coordinator

There are several definitions of the region encompassing Atlantic Arc. It is a dynamic concept, from the geopolitical, cultural and functional perspective.


As seen in the chart, the first definition of the European Commission (1994) retrieves the Atlantic Arc in a large area which includes the community territories located in the West, in a band ranging from Andalusia to the Sweden via Iceland. This concept has fallen into disuse.

On the other hand, the notion of ‘Atlantic area’ is created in the 1990s to delimit the areas of European territorial cooperation, and does not always correspond with the Atlantic Arc. Following the pattern of the Development Scheme of the European territory document and the first riders in the 1990s, Atlantis and Arcantel as well as INTERREG II C (1998), INTERREG IIIB defines the Atlantic Area as composed by the following regions:

Interreg IIIB Espace Atlantique
Interreg IIIB Espace Atlantique

Spain: Andalucía ((Huelva, Cádiz & Sevilla), Asturias, Canarias, Cantabria, Castilla Y León, Galicia, Navarra, País Vasco, La Rioja. .
France: Aquitaine, Poitou-Charentes, Pays de la Loire, Bretagne, Basse-Normandie, Haute- Normandie, Limousin, Centre, Midi-Pyrénées.
Ireland and Portugal: The whole territory, with Açores and Madeira
United Kingdom : Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Merseyside, Worcestershire and Warwickshire, Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, Dorset and Somerset, Cornwall and Devon, Staffordshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, West Midlands, the 22 Unitary Authorities of Wales, Northern Ireland, Highlands and Islands, South Western Scotland..

This definition is the one that seems the better assortment to Atlantic Arc, not only because of the historical and cultural links but also on a criterion of geographic continuity. Therefore, the articles of association of the Atlantic Arc Cities name cities located in or interested by the Atlantic Arc“. But these definitions are changing.


As seen in the figure, in the 2007-2013 programming period, the Atlantic border has moved further to the West, leaving out most of the non-coastal regions and the Canary Islands, Madeira and the Azores.

And… which do you think would be the most relevant area in 2014-2020?

4 thoughts on “9 May: Some thoughts on Atlantic Europe

  1. Reblogged this on regionaleurope and commented:
    Interesting insights here into the multiple and variable geographies of the Atlantic Arc/Area macro-region. Would be great to learn more about the processes through which the boundaries have changed at different points in time as well as the relative importance of functional, political and cultural perspectives.

  2. Which is your forecast for the most active area in the arc? I’m a Galician, but I do not think this is the most active area; Id’ rather think it would be somewhere in Britanny or Aquitaine/ Basque country, but it is just a rapid guess

    1. Hello,

      Interesting question. However, as you may understand, we see the Atlantic Arc as a whole, a cooperation and development area where balances and synergies enhance growth strategies. You can also see that in the cities. Given the dispersion and the urban size in the Atlantic Arc, every city works as a centre, assuming the responsability of its area of influence.

      Hope it helps!

      Tamara, CAAC Coordinator.

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