First for the Highlands as Council hosts European Political Bureau
On Friday (6 June) The Highland Council will welcome the Political Bureau of the Conference of Peripheral and Maritime regions (CPMR) to Inverness. This is the first time that the Political Bureau has met in the Highlands and the Council is keen to use the visit to highlight the realities of living and working at the periphery of the European Union.
The CPMR is thought of as the pre-eminent lobbying network in the E.U. and one of the most effective for regional/local government. The Commission regularly uses the Conference to gauge the views of the regions on new initiatives and to help develop same.
The Conference currently comprises 150 member regions across 28 countries and represents in the region of 200 million people. Members work together to ensure that EU institutions and national governments take account of the common interests of its members. The Conference also facilitates co-operation on practical projects in order to enhance their assets.
The Highland Council is a longstanding member of the CPMR with a track record of pro-active involvement in the work of the network. The Council Leader, Councillor Drew Hendry is the current UK representative on the ruling Political Bureau and is a vice President of the CPMR, the first Scot elected to this position.
Councillor Drew Hendry who will host the event on Friday said: “The CPMR has been instrumental in persuading the European Commission and Parliament to ensure that development is delivered in an equitable manner, assuring that peripheral and sparsely populated regions such as Highland does not lose out in favour of more populated regions such as Glasgow, Paris of Frankfurt.
“The Council, along with its member partners in the Highlands &Islands, is currently using the CPMR to help with supporting transport needs including ferry networks and supporting Highlands and Islands air links. Many of these issues are common among member regions and consideration of our unique needs helps all of those with similar challenges.
The agenda will also address:
Regional policy - where the Council will wish to ensure that pressure is maintained on the UK as a member state to ensure that the regions are fully involved in the development and delivery of these vitally important development programmes;
Accessibility - where the Council will seek for assurances that the ports covered by the Motorways of the Sea will be reviewed as the programme is delivered thus allowing Highlands & islands ports to gain access to funding;
Maritime policies - where interest will focus on ensuring that the maritime environment and maritime resources are integrated with terrestrial development;
Macro-regions - here the Council has concerns that future regional development could fail to address the role of the CPMR regions in favour of wider national government agendas across Europe.