The Collectivity of Saint-Martin organizes and chairs the Conference of Presidents of the outermost regions of Europe, the CPRUP, which will be held from Wednesday 5 to Friday 7 February 2020 in Saint-Martin. Interview with the president, Daniel Gibbs.
Saint-Martin is organizing for the first time the Conference of Presidents of the Outermost Regions, what is at stake for such an event for our territory?
DG: First of all, it is a real pleasure for me to be able to welcome the Presidents of the Outermost Regions of Europe to Saint Martin for the first time. Tradition has it that each of the nine territories chairs the CPRUP in turn from one year to the next. 2019 was the year of the presidency of Saint-Martin, so it is up to us to organize this conference at the end of which Saint-Martin will transmit the presidency to Mayotte for the year 2020.
The challenge is at several levels, in particular in our ability to join our efforts to speak with one voice within the Union and in the implementation of common strategies for the development of our territories.
I would also like to point out that Europe's solidarity and financial support under the Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) have been paramount in the post-Irma reconstruction process. In this context, I am particularly attached to receiving my counterparts, to show them what we have undertaken with this money, in particular the clearing and reconstruction of the 18 schools. It is an opportunity to thank them orally for their support.
What are the highlights of the XXIVth CPRUP program?
DG: The CPRUP takes place over 3 days with three highlights: the internal session of the Presidents, Thursday, February 6, during which we will discuss common issues and I will present the results of my presidency. Then in the afternoon, we will participate in a very interesting thematic session, organized on the theme of blue and green growth and climate change.
The partnership session will be held on Friday 7 February, in the presence of the Presidents and representatives of the Union, Commissioner Madame Elisa Ferreira and the MEPs Younous Omarjee and Stéphane Bijoux. This session will be followed by the ceremony of handing over the presidency to my counterpart of Mayotte Soibahadine IBRAHIM RAMADANI who will be represented on this occasion by its vice-president Mahomed SIDI.
What are the challenges of your presidency, what assessment do you draw?
DG: This year of presidency represented for me a very enriching experience and a unique opportunity to measure the richness of our territories. I also saw the imperative need to move forward in the same spirit for our influence within Europe.
The main challenges for the ORs essentially lie in their ability to position themselves on the European chessboard to have their specificities recognized and defend their interests. The renewal of the Union's institutions (European Parliament and European Commission), the new political priorities of the European Commission, the conclusion of negotiations on the future operational program 2021-2027, and the continuation of the long-standing partnership between the institutions of the Union and the Conference of the ORs are essential subjects.
We work to defend the status of the ORs and their visibility. I will also have the opportunity to present a detailed review of our activities during my presidency, during the internal session of the Presidents, Thursday morning, and we will report back to the public.
The CPRUP is a major event for our territories, in particular Saint-Martin which remains deeply linked to the European Union for its structural recovery and reconstruction. At a time when we have just launched the campaign to promote European funds on our territory with the State, we are in the middle of our subject, synchronicity is perfect.
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