THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS:
- stresses that the European Mediterranean islands account for 95% of the EU's island inhabitants and that, along with the other islands in the Mediterranean Basin, they share common challenges, problems and limitations that hamper their economic development;
- recognises the exceptional richness of the ecosystems of Mediterranean islands and their particular vulnerability in terms of current socioeconomic development and climate change, with the sustainable management of their scarce natural resources being their main challenge;
- stresses that, despite the specific difficulties faced, if targeted legislative measures and an appropriate financial framework are put in place, these Mediterranean island regions will serve as excellent laboratories for the various ecological transition processes undertaken by the EU;
- stresses that all Mediterranean islands have increasingly precarious environmental assets: limited land used for an increasingly large number of purposes, limited water resources, a high dependence on fossil fuels for energy, and very fragile and weakening ecosystems;
- points out that Article 174 TFEU should apply from the first stages of the decision-making process, including specific compensatory measures to overcome the challenges and constraints resulting from the specific circumstances of Mediterranean islands;
- stresses that one of the principles of the EU is economic, social and territorial cohesion, with particular attention to be paid to island regions as set out in Article 174 TFEU;
emphasises the need to properly and effectively apply Article 174 TFEU with regard to the Mediterranean islands, in the same way that Article 349 TFEU was developed for the outermost regions.