A new approach to the Atlantic Maritime Strategy

This article was published under the 2020-2025 European Committee of the Regions mandate.

Last updated 21 April 2021

A strong European Union needs a strong trade and investment policy to support economic recovery, create quality jobs, protect European companies from unfair practices at home and abroad, and ensure coherence with broader priorities in the areas of sustainability, climate change, the digital economy and security.


14 April

Discussion on the Atlantic Strategy between rapporteur Viana and Renew Europe MEP Laurence Farreng; with the rapporteur highlighting that the Atlantic region is faced with a double economic crisis caused by COVID and Brexit in the field of fisheries, tourism, trade and transport and regrets the exclusion from the Atlantic Action Plan of important activities such as nautical sports or sustainable tourism activities in relation to the marine environment and suggests bringing together the objectives contained in pillar I and II of the EC Communication into a single pillar that could be called “Blue economy activities as a driver for sustainable development of coastal areas”.

– She proposes to draw up an inventory of blue economy activities in each region and map out the development of the blue economy in the EU, while adopting regional specialisation strategies of the blue economy. She highlighted the importance of aligning the agenda and objectives of EU programs and policies because local actors complain of fragmented structure, lack of coordination and funding not arriving on time, where necessary.
– She believes that an integrated approach is necessary and could be achieved through the creation of a macro-regional strategy which will address maritime challenges and other issues linked to the territory, enhance multi-level and improve coordination between regions and Member States and rationalise the use of funding.

3 April 

Several Spanish regions support the creation of a new Atlantic Maritime Region as put forth by rapporteur Viana; The Spanish regions of Andalusia, Asturias, the Canary Islands, Cantabria, Galicia, Navarra and the Basque Country have all shown interest in this proposal adopted by the European Committee of the Regions, as covered in several papers such as EU Weekly, among others. 

18-19 March 

During the European Committee of the Regions Plenary session, the report on a new approach to the Atlantic Maritime Strategy was adopted with unanimity. 

Rapporteur Viana calls for the creation of an Atlantic macro-region that defines common strategies to boost blue economy priority sectors, including fisheries, commerce, tourism and transport. Several news articles picked up her successful work. 

29 January

The CoR’s rapporteur for the “Atlantic action plan 2.0” of the Atlantic maritime strategy, Paula Fernández Viaña, minister of the interior, justice and foreign action in the government of Cantabria, advocated relaunching the creation of the Atlantic macro-region. “The macro-region will help us to face the future challenges and the double economic crisis caused by the pandemic and Brexit,” the rapporteur said. Europa Press covers the exchange.


13 December 2020

The Cantabria region, through Paula Fernandez Viaña, stressed in the European Committee of the REgions that an “Atlantic macro-region” would be open to the participation of third countries such as the UK, to counteract the possible harsh effects on the economy. 

28 October

The rapporteur presented her ongoing work on the opinion during the meeting of the CPMR Atlantic Arc Commission. She underlined the need to implement a macro-regional strategy, which would provide greater political influence and support from the European institutions and more adequate funding for the Atlantic area.

25 September

CoR rapporteur Paula Fernández Viaña participated in the online meeting of the Atlantic Strategy Committee that took place in the form of an online meeting under the lead of the 2020 French presidency of the Atlantic Strategy. In her opening address Mrs. Fernández outlined the main elements of her work on the CoR opinion and presented to the Committee the key policy elements from the point of view of the Atlantic regional and local authorities for the future development of the strategy and the region. Other participants in the meeting included the European Commission, Member States and observing associations.

September 2020

As rapporteur the Minister of the Presidency, Interior, Justice and Foreign Action, Paula Fernández Viaña, will propose projects in European regions for the development of the blue economy of the Atlantic, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, developing renewable energy, combating marine pollution, transport ecological and creation of new jobs in this area.

Regarding the Atlantic Action Plan, Fernández Viaña advanced that, with the support of the Cantabria Government Office in Brussels, she will create a working group made up of experts in different areas in order to present a report that reflects the interests of Cantabria and the rest of the Atlantic maritime regions: “As members of the Atlantic Arc Commission, we will involve the rest of the Atlantic regions in the preparation of this report, as well as entities and experts that in Cantabria can contribute interesting ideas”.

“This renewed Atlantic action plan contributes to the European Green Deal, a socially inclusive model of sustainable development and job creation, while safeguarding marine and coastal environments and ensuring a healthy ocean”. 

18 June 2020

At the proposal of Renew Europe the Minister of the Presidency, Interior, Justice and Foreign Action, Paula Fernández Viaña, who represents the Government of Cantabria in the European Committee of the Regions, was appointed for the high level group of the Atlantic Strategy”.

The Autonomous Community of Cantabria will be the European region that will have a voice in the High Level Group of the Atlantic Strategy, responsible for making strategic decisions related to the review, operational coordination and execution of the Atlantic Action Plan for the EU, which encourages numerous maritime projects and investments, for instance in the blue economy.

Regarding this strategy for growth and employment in the Atlantic area, Viaña stressed that: “This is an important political tool, which has so far demonstrated its ability to help revitalize the marine and maritime economy in the Atlantic area through sustainable development in coastal areas, but also in the future economic and social recovery necessary after the health crisis”.

She added: “We have to ensure that an intelligent relationship is established between Cohesion Policy programs, such as Interreg Atlantic Area or regional operational programs, with Horizon Europe, and the rest of the programs currently being negotiated, including new programs creation as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic”.

Paula Fernández VIAÑA


Media corner

To strengthen cooperation between EU Atlantic regions @PaulaFdezPRC calls for a new Atlantic macro-region to better tackle #Brexit & #COVID19 pandemic with joint strategies to boost #BlueEconomy sectors like #fisheries, #commerce, #tourism & #transport: https://t.co/M9RKXcEGzX. pic.twitter.com/Rs45ujpMkM

— Renew Europe CoR (@RenewEuropeCoR) March 19, 2021

🇪🇺 “La macro-región es una herramienta esencial para competir por los fondos del nuevo Marco Financiero Plurianual de la UE y para desarrollar proyectos estratégicos comunes en la economía azul. Las regiones deben asumir un papel activo en la gobernanza del Atlántico.” #Cantabria https://t.co/NUwpEt6Nih

— Paula Fernández (PRC) (@PaulaFdezPRC) March 19, 2021

🇪🇺☝ En su primera edición, el Plan de Acción del Atlántico recogió proyectos europeos por un valor total de 6.000 millones de euros en inversiones. En marzo se votará esta segunda edición que hemos presentado desde #Cantabria https://t.co/PUIg2OLPLU

— Paula Fernández (PRC) (@PaulaFdezPRC) January 29, 2021

🇪🇺 La consejera de Acción Exterior apuesta por la macrorregión atlántica para competir “con eficacia” por los fondos y afrontar la crisis

👉🏻 @PaulaFdezPRC presenta su dictamen sobre el #PlanAcciónAtlántico en la Comisión NAT del @EU_CoR ℹ️➡️ https://t.co/RIYgHQ3K5p pic.twitter.com/0rouJfkYtJ

— Gobierno Cantabria (@cantabriaes) January 29, 2021

👏 Congratulations to our member Paula Fernández Viaña on being appointed rapporteur on the Atlantic maritime strategy opinion. @RenewEuropeCoR pic.twitter.com/xsjX2eAcJP

— European Committee of the Regions (@EU_CoR) September 27, 2020

.@PaulaFdezPRC (@prcantabria) appointed today in @EU_CoR to lead the regional action in the European Strategy for the Atlantic: https://t.co/CRG5vhLcrc!#AtlanticStrategy #blueeconomy pic.twitter.com/mrIUijpJgi

— Renew Europe CoR (@RenewEuropeCoR) June 18, 2020

🇪🇺🇵🇱 Elaboraremos el dictamen sobre el Plan de Acción para el Atlántico 2.0
🖥 En la reunión @EU_CoR de Recursos Naturales hemos debatido y aprobado 6 dictámenes: #despoblamiento, programa salud europeo, #ProteccionCivil, turismo sostenible, agroecología y alimentarios saludables https://t.co/1pVbi5oRCs

— Paula Fernández (PRC) (@PaulaFdezPRC) September 18, 2020

🤝 Reunión de la comisión NAT del CDR en la que he sido nombrada representante del Comité de las Regiones en este Grupo de Alto Nivel, que aborda los retos europeos pesqueros y marítimos de la estrategia atlántica.
🇵🇱 #Cantabria será la región europea que tendrá voz en Europa 🇪🇺 https://t.co/rVigHadkRq

— Paula Fernández (PRC) (@PaulaFdezPRC) June 18, 2020