The President of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, has expressed his conviction that it is possible to reconcile the economic model of the islands with respect for the environment. “It is compatible and absolutely essential and necessary”, remarked the President at a ‘Citizens’ Dialogue‘ in which he was accompanied by the European Commission’s Director of Regional Policy responsible for the Outermost Regions, Monika Hencsey.
The meeting was attended by representatives and members of Canary Islands institutions such as the Parliament, local councils, town councils, universities, employers’ confederations, trade union confederations, chambers of commerce, third sector organisations and experts in new technologies, innovation, transport, energy, emergencies and sectors such as aerospace and audiovisual, among others.
In his speech, Ángel Víctor Torres said that if the so-called green tax on jet fuel and, therefore, on air travel within the European Union were applied in the Canary Islands, the islands would have “no chance of survival” because they have no alternative means of transport: “You either travel by plane or you travel by boat”, a reality that “the EU undoubtedly needs to be aware of”, the president added.
Torres said he agreed that the planet must be decarbonised, and considers that the European Union must understand the Canary Islands’ commitment to decarbonisation and sustainable energies as “evidence” of the fact that the Islands must be exempt from the green tax.
In this regard, he pointed out that there are currently eight thousand buildings on the islands that operate with photovoltaic energy, when four years ago there were only 400; environmental impact statements that have involved billions in investment, projects such as Chira-Soria, plans for the management of marine space or 500 million to invest in sustainable energies. “We are therefore demonstrating our commitment to Europe,” Torres said.
The head of the Canary Islands’ government recalled that the islands already have the Canary Islands Blue Economy Strategy 2021-2030 and reiterated that although there is great concern about everything to do with decarbonisation rates, it is also true that the commitment to clean energies “has to be demonstrated”.