On 12 September 2007, the Commission adopted a communication entitled "Strategy for the Outermost Regions (OR): Achievements and Future Prospects"(1). In this communication, the Commission:
In identifying these four themes, the Commission wishes to broaden the process of reflection on issues which may pose particular challenges for these regions. Commission considers that the areas identified in the 2004 strategy (accessibility, regional integration, competitiveness), remain relevant in terms of the economic, social and territorial development of these territories, as well as in terms of their permanent handicaps however they may need to integrate the consequences linked to the four themes .
Thus, the public consultation launched by the communication of 12 September covers both the implementation of the 2004 strategy for the outermost regions and the new challenges identified.
With a view to supplementing the written contributions received during the public consultation via the Internet, on 14 and 15 May 2008 the Commission organizes an inter-institutional and partnership conference on the future of the strategy for the outermost regions.
This will be an important event, which will be attended by nearly 200 representatives at national, regional and local level, drawn from the three Member States concerned. The Commission will also associate with this event the Presidency of the European Union, the European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions, the European Economic and Social Committee and the socio-professional circles involved or their representative organisations, universities and research centres and experts.
The objective of the conference is to enable a high-level exchange between all stakeholders on the development and possible amendment of the European strategy in relation to the outermost regions.
Moreover, this conference is of particular importance in the context of the recent conclusions of the European Council of 14 December 2007. Those conclusions call on the Commission to present new proposals for the future of its strategy concerning the outermost regions by October 2008.
The results of the conference will supplement the contributions made during the public consultation, with a view to providing input to the Commission's process of reflection on the evolution of its partnership with the outermost regions.
(1) COM (2007) 507 final
(2) This group of regions has to contend with constraints which, being both permanent and occurring in combination, lead to their socioeconomic development being held back. These particular constraints are remoteness, insularity, small surface area, difficult terrain and climate, as well as economic dependence on a small number of products (Article 299(2) of the EC Treaty).
(3) COM (2004) 343 final
(4) SEC (2007) 112