An island is, for geographical reasons, a peculiar place, different in many ways from a continental territory. Often, we highlight the most romantic aspects: our landscape, our climate, our gastronomy… But on the islands we live together citizens who, as in any community, have problems. Many are shared with those who live in other parts of the country, Europe or the world, but there are some that are only experienced by us.
Insularity creates additional obstacles. Isolation by sea is a disadvantage, even more so in a context of a globalized economy. From the Balearic Islands, we do not demand more rights than anyone else, but we do not demand less either. For this reason, if we want a cohesive European Union, the Islands need the solidarity of others to overcome our insular disadvantage. A good example of this is the need to promote an ecological transition that is fair to territories like ours.
After many weeks of negotiation, we are very satisfied because on Wednesday June 22 the last amendment that I registered in the European Parliament was ratified and supported by a large majority of the chamber, with support from the left and the right. My amendment to the new Emission Rights Trading Regime has established the position of the entire European Parliament in favor of maritime routes covered by public service obligations, that is, those linking mainland ports with island ports, would be excluded from the “green rate”. In other words, that we do not pay more for what we eat for the mere fact of living in the Balearic Islands.
It would not be fair for the cost of living to become more expensive on an island than on the mainland. Not if we want the ecological transition to be just. For this reason, it is essential that the Commission and the Council of the EU listen to and respect the voice of Parliament, which we have managed to convince that, for the transition to go ahead, we must avoid possible injustices, and also territorial ones. My role in the European Parliament is to represent the interests of the citizens who voted for me. And make good policy for the Balearic Islands. In this vote, we have succeeded.
The Balearic Islands have been precursors of the ecological transition in recent years. The government of Francina Armengol has approved three laws that are the trident of the ecological transition in our archipelago: the Climate Change Law, the Waste Law and the Tourism Law. Few territories have done as much as ours in recent years to accelerate the transition, with projects such as the first green hydrogen plant in southern Europe or the Menorca 2030 Strategy of the European Commission to reach 85% decarbonisation of the island to then.
No one can give us lessons in our ambition for the ecological transition, but no one can give us lessons either in our ambition that it be fair. The Balearic Islands win with this amendment. On an island we depend on sea transport and air transport to survive. Our maritime dependence is especially sensitive because it is how most of our merchandise, food, medicine and other basic products reach us. We could not allow the Balearic Islands to lose out.
The ecological transition presents us with many challenges. But if we defend a just transition, we cannot allow these challenges to be assumed especially in some places. This is the risk for the European islands if maritime transport becomes more expensive, because it would cause an increase in the cost of living of the societies that live in them. This has been a good policy for the Balearic Islands, but, without a doubt, also for the future and the cohesion of the European Union.