POSEI programmes and specific measures in favour of the smaller Aegean islands
The outermost regions of the EU are an integral part of the Union and their specific characteristics are to give rise to differentiated and specific treatment in various sectors.
Which are the EU's outermost regions?
The outermost regions of the EU, as identified in Art 349 of the Treaty for the functioning of the European Union (TFEU) are:
- France : Guadeloupe, French Guyana, Martinique, Réunion, Saint-Barthélemy and Saint-Martin
- Portugal: the Azores and Madeira
- Spain: the Canary Island
What are the POSEI programmes?
The EU´s outermost regions benefit from the POSEI arrangements ("Programme d'Options Spécifiques à l'Éloignement et l'Insularité") in the agricultural sector. These programmes are designed to take account of their geographical and economic handicaps such as
- small size,
- difficult topography and climate,
- economic dependence on a few products.
How do the POSEI programmes function?
The POSEI measures, which are funded under the 1st pillar of the CAP, fall into two categories:
- specific supply arrangements, aimed at mitigating the additional costs for the supply of essential products for human consumption, for processing and as agricultural inputs, and
- measures to support the local agricultural production.
The 2006 reform of these arrangements brought about a shift from micro-management of measures by the Commission towards greater regional participation, decentralisation and flexibility in decision-making, on the basis of programmes presented by Member States for approval by the Commission.
Why put in place specific programmes for the outermost regions?
The outermost regions are an integral part of the Union and, under the TFEU, their specific characteristics are to give rise to differentiated and specific treatment in various sectors.
They give the Union both a very widely spread set of maritime territories, of biodiversity and an even more diversified economy, for example by supplying agricultural products such as bananas, rum, cane sugar, and other exotic fruits and vegetables in demand by European consumers.
The outermost regions present enormous opportunities and are a valuable asset in European relations with adjacent countries.
They are also attractive in certain research and high technology fields: Astrophysics Institute in the Canaries, European Space Agency in French Guiana, Oceanography and Fisheries Department of the University of the Azores, etc.
How much money are we talking?
The financial allocations for the POSEI programmes in 2010 are:
- Spain: € 268.4 million,
- France: € 278.4 million,
- Portugal: € 106.2 million.
What about the specific measures in favour of the smaller Aegean islands?
Like the POSEI programmes, these measures have two aims:
- to limit the additional costs involved in transporting certain agricultural products to these regions and
- to foster the development of local production.
The smaller Aegean islands benefit from specific supply arrangements for certain agricultural products and adapted support measures for local agricultural production. These measures, exemplified by the Council Regulation (EC) No 1405/2006 , aim at promoting the development of these regions which is hindered by a number of geographical and economic factors.
What is the current situation of the schemes?
In September 2010 the Commission published a report on the impact of the POSEI reform of 2006 together with a proposal for a review of the Regulation laying down specific measures for agriculture in the outermost regions of the Union.
The report is generally positive. The 2006 reform has given encouraging results concerning the management of POSEI as well as the maintenance and, in certain cases, the development of local agricultural productions. The supply in essential products, whose additional costs have been partially covered by the POSEI scheme, has also been guaranteed. It can therefore be maintained that the reform of the POSEI programmes is well adapted in order to reach its essential objectives.
With a view of improving this scheme the Commission has adopted legislative proposals to introduce the recommendations included in the report (softening the rules on budget allocation and on the transfer of products benefitting from the specific supply arrangements), but also to align the POSEI regulation to the new requirements of the Lisbon Treaty and to provide a more structured text.
One of the most sensitive issues of the scheme concerns bananas. The report notes that the considerable budget currently allocated to support the banana production can still cope with the new trade conditions. Nevertheless, the Commission services monitor very closely the potential impact of the multilateral trade agreements on the banana producers of the outermost regions (most of the EU bananas are produced in four of the nine outermost regions).
The two documents have been sent to the European Parliament and the Council.