Odessa (UA), 11 May 2012
The Assembly of European Regions (AER) gathered for its 3rd Summit of the Black Sea regions bordering the Black Sea, experts and representatives of the European Union. The 70 participants unanimously recognized the importance of interregional cooperation, both from a geostrategic and environmental point of view.
Michèle Sabban, AER President, stated: “Many political, economic, social, and also environmental changes have to be made to assure a bright future for the Black Sea. We, at regional level, have a real capacity to come together and overcome all divisions to develop concrete interregional projects.” This can also be done in cooperation with the private sector, and, as pointed out by Claude Nahon from EDF, these partnerships create value in the local areas.
Oleksandr Malin, Deputy Head of Odessa Regional State Administration (UA), stressed the importance of transport policy in this area, and asked above all that the project envisioning the building of a highway advances. In the framework of the EU Strategy for the Black Sea, Odessa is also involved in numerous scientific studies on water quality and the environment in general. Mr. Malin is pleased with the good results already achieved in the fields of energy and environment, such as the introduction of a green tariff, and is ready to cooperate even more with AER on all its Black Sea projects.
As part of the the European Union’s Neighbourhood Policy, Andrew Rasbash, Head of Operations, Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine, encouraged regions to continue their commitment to the future of the Black Sea. He informed the summit participants that a roadmap will be available on May 15, 2012, which sets up a monitoring procedure for the six partner countries of the Eastern Partnership.
For AER, the regions will have a key role in developing specific projects in their territories to implement national priorities given by this roadmap. AER has welcomed the announcement of the 1.5 million euro budget increase for Joint Operational Programme 2007-2013 Black Sea Basin. However, this program being too complex, AER is committed to strengthening its support and networking so that its members can benefit to the fullest of available funds.
The 4th AER Summit of the Black Sea will be held next year in the Turkish region of Rize.
The Assembly of European Regions (AER – aer.eu) is the largest independent network of regions in wider Europe. Bringing together more than 250 regions from 35 countries and 16 interregional organisations, AER is the political voice of its members and a forum for interregional co-operation.
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