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?


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