President Daniel Gibbs poses with other Presidents at the 2018 Gran Canaria CPRUP conference.
MARIGOT–St. Martin for the first time will be organizing and hosting the 24th Conference for the Presidents of the Régions Ultra-Périphériques (CPRUP) February 5-7.
The CPRUP will take place over three days with three highlights. President Daniel Gibbs will present the results of his presidency at the internal session of the Presidents on Thursday, February 6, during which common issues will be discussed. Then in the afternoon, there is a very interesting themed session on blue and green growth and climate change.
The partnership session will be held on Friday, February 7, in the presence of the Presidents and representatives of the Union, Commissioner Elisa Ferreira and Members of the European Parliament (MEP)s Younous Omarjee and Stéphane Bijoux. This session will be followed by the ceremony of handing over the Presidency to Gibbs’ counterpart from Mayotte, Soibahadine Ibrahim Ramadani, who will be represented on this occasion by Vice-President Mahomed Sidi.
St. Martin held the presidency for 2019 under Daniel Gibbs. He talked of the significance of the occasion.
“First of all, it is a real pleasure for me to be able to welcome the Presidents of Europe’s Outermost Regions (ORs) to St. Martin for the first time. Traditionally, each of the nine territories presides over the CPRUP in turn from one year to the next. 2019 was the year of the St. Martin presidency, so we will be organising this conference at the end of which St. Martin will hand over the presidency to Mayotte for the year 2020.
“The issue at stake is at several levels, notably in our ability to join forces 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 EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) have been decisive in the post-[Hurricane – Ed.] Irma reconstruction process. In this context, I am particularly keen to receive my counterparts, to show them what we have undertaken with this money, in particular the clearance and reconstruction of the 18 schools. This is an opportunity to thank them out loud for their support.”
Gibb said the year of presidency had been a very enriching experience for him and a unique opportunity to measure the richness of the territories. He also realised that it is imperative to move forward with the same momentum for influence within Europe.
“The main challenges for the outermost regions lie essentially in their ability to position themselves on the European chessboard in order to have their specific characteristics recognised and defend their interests,” Gibbs asserted.
“The renewal of the Union’s institutions (European Parliament and European Commission), the European Commission’s new political priorities, the conclusion of the negotiations on the future operational programme 2021-2027, and the continuation of the long-standing partnership between the Union’s institutions and the Conference of the Outermost Regions are essential issues.
“We are working to defend the status of the ORs and their visibility. I will, moreover, have the opportunity to present a detailed assessment of our activities during my presidency, at the internal session of the Presidents on Thursday morning, and we will report back to the public.
“The CPRUP is a major event for our territories, particularly St. Martin, which remains deeply linked to the European Union in terms of its structural catch-up and reconstruction. At a time when we have just launched jointly with the State the campaign to promote European funds in our territory, we are right in the middle of our subject – the timing is perfect.”