Three questions for Marie-Antoinette Maupertuis following the publication of her report on regions with geographic and demographic handicaps

February 2023

Three questions for Marie-Antoinette Maupertuis following the publication of her report on regions with geographic and demographic handicaps

Marie-Antoinette Maupertuis, President of the Corsican Assembly and member of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), answers our questions following the publication of her report to the CoR on regions with "geographic and demographic handicaps". What about border areas?

The report you presented to the Committee of the Regions in December on regions with geographical and demographic handicaps was unanimously adopted. What is the reason for this report?

The aim of Article 174 of the TFEU is to prevent and correct the development difficulties of European territories suffering from structural geographical and demographic disadvantages such as mountain areas, islands, northern regions, etc. It is binding for cohesion policy but also for other European policies such as transport, energy or competition law. However, we can see the shortcomings of its current application. Disparities between these highly constrained territories and the rest of the EU have increased sharply, as highlighted in the 8th cohesion report.
This report is the logical continuation of a long-standing commitment to these territories, notably as a member of the COTER Commission of the European Committee of the Regions.
In 2020, I had already presented a report to recall the multiple constraints from which islands suffer and to plead for more support from the Union.
This new report contributes to putting the subject of territories with severe disadvantages on the European agenda and is a very useful resource for all those who defend their interests. Its unanimous adoption is a testament to the importance of these issues for many local communities.
Download the report.

What about cross-border regions in particular?

Cross-border regions are rich and complex territories which are the essence of the European Union. The health crisis has revealed the specific problems that affect them and which nevertheless continue to be poorly understood at the level of the Commission. My report calls for a systematic study of the development of effective and sustainable cross-border public services. This concerns, for example, health care or worker mobility, areas that have been under great strain during the Covid-19 crisis. I also state in the report that the European Cross-Border Mechanism (ECBM) should be unblocked because it would remove 50% of the obstacles to the development of border regions.
At EU level, progress is often achieved through repeated and coordinated action by stakeholders. This is why it is essential to advocate, at each level, the cause of cross-border regions, as we have done with some success for islands.

The Interreg 2021-2027 programmes have just been published. What are the cross-border issues and priorities for Corsica?

Corsica is a unique case, because we border all the Mediterranean regions. Interregional, transnational and cross-border cooperation is therefore a fundamental issue. We have set up many partnerships within the framework of Interreg Italy-France Marittimo, in particular around environmental issues but also tourism and culture. At the same time, as President of the Assembly of Corsica and co-president of the Corso-Sardinian Council, I advocate reinforced cooperation with the Italian regions. This is an issue that is particularly close to my heart, and I hope that in the future the MOT will become a leading partner to provide us with its experience and expertise in cross-border cooperation.

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