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Regional policy & outermost regions

Mayotte: the new outermost region from 1 January 2014
13/01/2014

By Decision 2012/419/EU, the European Council amended the status of Mayotte with regard to the Union with effect from 1 January 2014. Therefore, from that date Mayotte ceased to be an overseas territory to become an outermost region within the meaning of Articles 349 and 355(1) TFEU. Union law will apply to Mayotte from 1 January 2014. The Council and the Parliament has adopted specific legislative measures providing transitional periods in the areas of environment, agriculture, social policy, public health, fisheries animal health,and fiscality :

COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 2013/61/EU of 17 December 2013 COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 2013/61/EU of 17 December 2013 amending Directives 2006/112/EC and 2008/118/EC as regards the French outermost regions and Mayotte in particular – OJ 2013 12 28 - L 353-5

COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 2013/62/EU of 17 December 2013 amending Directive 2010/18/EU implementing the revised Framework Agreement on parental leave concluded by BUSINESSEUROPE, UEAPME, CEEP and ETUC, following the amendment of the status of Mayotte with regard to the European Union – OJ 2013 12 28 - L 353-7

COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 2013/64/EU of 17 December 2013 amending Council Directives 91/271/EEC and 1999/74/EC, and Directives 2000/60/EC, 2006/7/EC, 2006/25/EC and 2011/24/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council, following the amendment of the status of Mayotte with regard to the European Union- OJ 2013 12 28 - L 353-8

COUNCIL REGULATION (EU) No 1385/2013 of 17 December 2013 amending Council Regulations (EC) No 850/98 and (EC) No 1224/2009, and Regulations (EC) No 1069/2009, (EU) No 1379/2013 and (EU) No 1380/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council, following the amendment of the status of Mayotte with regard to the European Union – OJ 2013 12 28 - L 354-86

Partnership in action: EU Outermost Regions present investment and growth plans for 2014-20 to European Commission
25/06/2013

EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn will today receive the strategic growth plans for Europe’s eight Outermost Regions (OR). The Commissioner, who is responsible for coordinating all EU policies for these regions will be discussing the Action Plans in Brussels with Presidents and Vice-Presidents from The Azores, the Canary Islands, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Madeira, Martinique, La Réunion and St Martin. This is the first time the Outermost Regions have been asked to present this kind of individual strategy, which will cover not just how they plan to make the best use of EU structural funds but also how they think other EU policies can help their development. The plans identify which specific characteristics and strengths they aim to capitalise on with a view to diversifying and modernising their economies.

The Action Plans were requested by the Commission one year ago in the communication: The Outermost regions of the European Union: towards a partnership for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

The strategies are toolkits for 2014-2020: not only in the use of Structural Funds, but how the OR can benefit from EU policies more broadly. They set out the steps to be taken on the regions’ individual paths to fulfilling Europe2020 growth goals, addressing issues such as youth unemployment and boosting local competitiveness. Today's event will also be attended by representatives from a number of Commission Directorates responsible for Maritime Policy, Employment, Agriculture, Transport, Trade, Development and the Single Market.

Some of the principal themes covered in today’s Action Plans include:

  • Improved access to the EU single market – focusing in particular on: Transport networks, people mobility, maritime dimension and infrastructural needs;
  • Enhancing Competitiveness through economic modernisation and diversification focussing on agriculture, research & innovation and tourism;
  • Better regional geographic integration;
  • Social development - job creation, boosting skills and qualifications with a sharp focus on youth, education and employment;
  • Mainstreaming climate change mitigation across all policies

Further information:

Commissioner Hahn attends annual Conference of Presidents of the EU's Outermost Regions in the Azores (Portugal)
12/09/2012

The European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn, will attend the 18th Conference of Presidents of the EU's Outermost Regions, hosted by Carlos Cesar, President of the Regional Government of Azores, and current chair of the group of eight outermost regions (Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Réunion, Martinique, the overseas Collectivity of St Martin, the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands). The governments of Spain, Portugal and France will be represented at the conference, as well as the Cyprus Presidency of the EU. Mayotte, which will gain outermost region status in 2014 and the Prime Minister of Cape Verde will also participate.. 

Commissioner Hahn will embark on a 3-day tour of the islands of the Azores (starting in Sao Miguel and continuing to Faial, Pico, Flores and Corvo), visiting projects co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), such as:

The Escola de Formação Turística e Hoteleira on Sao Miguel - School of Tourism and Hospitality Training (EFTH), Pico Vermelho Geothermal Plant (Sao Miguel Island, Ribeira Grande) and Corvo island's Air Traffic Control Tower.

More info

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Planisphère


Presentation

The EU has 9 regions that are geographically very distant from the European continent but that form integral part of the EU.

The 9 outermost regions are:

  • 5 French overseas departments – Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Réunion and Mayotte *
  • 1 French overseas communities – Saint-Martin
  • 2 Portuguese autonomous regions – Madeira and the Azores
  • 1 Spanish autonomous community – the Canary Islands

* Mayotte, former OCT, from March 2011 officially the 5th Overseas French department and 101st French departement, expressed the wish supported by the French authorities to become an OR in 2014.

EU law (all rights and duties associated with EU membership) applies to the “outermost regions” except for the cases where there are specific measures for these regions, in contrast to the overseas countries and territories, which have a different legal status.*

* The overseas countries and territories (OCT) are the 21 countries and territories listed in Annex II to the Treaty. As they do not belong to the Union, EU law does not apply to them, with the exception of the association regime based on Part IV of the Treaty.

OR in sound and images

OR in figures

 

  Location Capital Surface area Population Per capita GDP (EU=100)
Azores Atlantic Ponta Delgada 2 333 km2 237 900 66.7
Canaries Atlantic Las Palmas and Santa Cruz de Tenerife 7 447 km2 1 715 700 93.7
Guadeloupe Caribbean Basse-Terre 1 710 km2 425 700 70.6
French Guiana South America Cayenne 84 000 km2 161 100 50.5
Madeira Atlantic Funchal 795 km2 244 800 94.9
Martinique Caribbean Fort-de-France 1 080 km2 383 300 75.6
Réunion Indian Ocean Saint-Denis 2 510 km2 715 900 61.6
Saint-Martin Caribbean Marigot 53 km2 35 000 61.9

Source: 2006

The specificities of OR

Handicaps...

The regions face several obstacles to full development – remoteness, insularity, terrain, climate, economic dependence and the narrow range of goods they produce.

And assets...

However, they also have a valuable contribution to make:

  • diversification – the outermost regions give the EU wider territorial waters than it would otherwise have and a diverse economy, providing rum, sugar cane, bananas and other tropical fruit and vegetables for European consumers
  • strategic importance –: the regions offer the EU tremendous opportunities for developing relations with neighbouring countries in Macaronesia, the Caribbean and the south-west Indian Ocean
  • research and hi-tech industries, e.g.:
    • IAC, the Canary Islands' Astrophysics Institute
    • the European Space Agency's centre in French Guiana
    • University of the Azores' oceanography and fisheries department
    • CRVOI, the centre for research on emerging diseases, in Réunion
    • Guadeloupe's under-water broadband cables
    • agri-environmental research cluster on Martinique
    • Madeira's multi-purpose power station

Legal basis and OR strategy

In the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the outermost regions are covered in Article 349, which requires that EU policies must be adjusted to their special circumstances.

EU strategy for the OR

In the past, specific support programmes have been developed for these regions: POSEIDOM for the French overseas departments (1989), POSEICAN for the Canary Islands (1991) and POSEIMA for the Azores and Madeira (1991) – Their aims were to improve infrastructure, promote job-creating industries and develop human resources.

In 2006 the support system was reformed, and replaced by POSEI programmes, with funding allocated to each of the three EU countries to which the regions belong.

Since 2004, the EU has had an integrated strategy, based on active partnership between EU institutions, national governments and the outermost regions. The three priorities are to make the regions more accessible, more competitive and more integrated with the countries around them. These priorities – and other measures – are explained in the Strategy for the outermost regions pdf.

 

Current EU strategy for the OR

In 2004, the EU set out a comprehensive strategy for the OR based on active partnership between the European institutions, Member States and the OR, centred around hree  areas: reducing their accessibility deficit, making them more competitive and improving regional integration. Additional measures were proposed in the Communication entitled ‘Strategy for the outermost regions: achievements and future prospects’.

In October 2008, a new Commission policy paper, "The outermost regions – an asset for Europe" set two objectives:

  • address new difficulties facing the outermost regions – globalisation, climate change, demographic trends, migratory flows, sustainable management of natural resources, including marine resources and agricultural products.
  • exploit the regions' assets to boost economic development, with particular focus on sectors with high added-value, such as the agri-food industry, biodiversity, renewable energy, astrophysics, aerospace, oceanography, vulcanology, seismology, and to promote the regions' role as outposts of the EU in the world.

In May 2010, the European Commission organised the First Forum for Outermost Europe at the initiative of DG REGIO. This broad, high-level event provided an opportunity to apply the proactive partnership between the European Commission, the OR, Member States and the European Parliament to set up a forum to exchange  views on matters of interest regarding future challenges of the OR.

Action Plans of OR

Azores pdf pt

Canarias pdf es

Guadeloupe pdf fr

Guyane pdf fr

La Réunion pdf fr

Madeira pdf pt

St Martin pdf fr

 

EU support for the development of OR

The EU will invest over EUR 11 billion in OR between 2007 and 2013 (funded by: ERDF, ESF, EAFRD, EFF, POSEI). These funds are included in several programmes:

- ERDF: EUR 4.5 billion (European Regional Development Fund)
OR also benefit from ERDF envelopes earmarked for technical cooperation under 4 programmes set up by geographical area. See programmes and projects for more information.
- ESF (European Social Fund): EUR 1.3 billion
- EAFRD (European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development): EUR 1.2 billion
- EFF (European Fisheries Fund): EUR 101.4 million
- POSEI (Programme of Options Specifically Relating to Remoteness and Insularity): EUR 4.16 billion

POSEI financial envelopes in millions € -

 

Programme

FY* 2007

FY 2008

FY 2009

FY 2010

FY 2011 & ff.**

French overseas departments

126,6

262,6

269,4

273,0

 278,41

Azores and Madeira

  77,9

      86,98

      87,08

      87,18

 106,21

Canary islands

127,3

268,4

268,4

268,4

268,42

TOTAL

331,8

617,98

624,88

628,58

653,04

*=financial year **= future financial years

European Grant Amounts by Region (2007-2013) (in thousands €)

  FEDER FSE FEADER
Açores 996500 190000 274000
Canaries 1019000 117000 153000
Guadeloupe 542000 185000 138000
Guyane 305000 100000 74000
Madeira 320500 125000 175000
Martinique 417000 98000 100000
Réunion 1014000 517000 319000
Total 4584000 1332000 1233000

In addition to Structural Fund programmes, numerous other European initiatives take account of the specificities of these regions, especially in terms of competition, agriculture, research and trade.
For example:
- DG Environment programmes, such as:

  • Natura 2000
  • BEST (Voluntary scheme for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Territories of the EU Outermost Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories): an envelope of EUR 2 million has been earmarked for financing preparations for implementation of the BEST programme for OCT and OR in order to protect and promote their biodiversity.
  • Life+

- DG Research programmes:

  • FPRTD (Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development)
  • CIP (Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme)

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EU Regional Policy: Stay informed