Regional policy & outermost regions

newTwo Outermost regions projects among the winners of the 2011 "RegioStars Award"!

  • The objective of the RegioStars Awards is to identify good practices in regional development and to highlight original and innovative projects which could be attractive and inspiring to other regions.
  • Innovative and sustainable mobility in Funchal (CIVITAS MIMOSA), Madeira, Portugal (€2,01 million in EU funding from the ERDF)
    Winner of Category 4 "CityStar". Integrated, clean urban transport projects (“CityStar” category), within the Low carbon economy themes.

    The city of Funchal is characterised by rugged, hilly landscapes, resulting in the high wear-and-tear of bus engines, as well as low energy efficiency, increased polluting emissions and noise. The aims of this project were to increase the total number of passengers on public transport, improve user satisfaction, increase transport efficiency and also promote a shift towards alternative transport modes.

  • Capelinhos Lighthouse, Azores, Portugal (€3,37 million in EU funding from ERDF)
    Winner chosen by an online public vote. Category 5. Promotional photo of a co-funded project, within the Information and communication theme.

    The winning photo was used to promote the ‘Redevelopment of Capelinhos Lighthouse – Interpretation Centre’ project. The photo shows the interior of the lighthouse, which is located near the Capelinhos Volcano on the Island of Faial in the Azores archipelago. The project aimed to develop the site as an historical, environmental and sustainable tourist attraction.

  • The RegioStars 2012 Awards for project co-financed by EU regional policy is already launched. The deadline for receipt of applications is 15 July 2011.
    More information on the Regiostars section

  • newMeeting between Commissioner Hahn and Outermost Regions Presidents Brussels, 12 May 2011 (Berlaymont building, 11th floor)

    The purpose of the meeting, chaired by Martinique, was to discuss the future of Outermost Regions economies and the attention they should continue to receive in the future cohesion policy after 2013.

    See below the events section for more information!

    newFinancial support for biodiversity in European Overseas (BEST)

    Open call for proposals in the framework of the Preparatory Action 'BEST' (Voluntary scheme for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Territories of the EU Outermost Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories). Deadline for applications: 9 September 2011.

    Financial support for biodiversity in European Overseas

    newGrowth Factors in the Outermost Regions

    Study : pdf part 1 en - part 2 en

    Executive Summary March 2011pdf enesfrpt

    The study is aimed at deepening the understanding of the process of economic development, identifying strategies to improve competitiveness and reduce dependence on imports and transfers. The work consisted in the analysis of data and literature as well as interviews of local stakeholders which took place during spring 2010. The independent consultant is responsible for the contents which do not bind the European Commission.

    new Online Discussion until May 15new

    The outermost regions should be better integrated into the single market. Measures to bolster the single market should help these regions to capitalise on their strengths and develop their economic potential. Are the outermost regions well served by EU policies relating to the single market? Tell us what you think by taking part in the Online discussion enesfrpt

    The EU has nine regions that are geographically very distant from the European continent but that still form an integral part of the EU member countries they belong to.

    Known as the “outermost regions”, they are covered by EU law and the other rights and duties associated with EU membership – in contrast to overseas territories, which have a different legal status.

    The nine outermost regions are:

    • 4 French départementsMartinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana and Réunion and 2 French collectivités d'Outre-mer – Saint-Barthélemy, Saint-Martin
    • 2 Portuguese autonomous regions – Madeira and the Azores pt - Açores 2010 pt
    • 1 Spanish autonomous community – the Canary Islands
      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 7 447 km2 1 715 700 93.7
    Guadeloupe Caribbean Pointe-à-Pitre 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-Barthélémy Caribbean Gustavia 25 km2 8 300 111
    Saint-Martin Caribbean Marigot 53 km2 35 000 61.9

    Source: 2006

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

    Handicaps – and assets

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

    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, on Réunion
      • Guadeloupe's under-sea broadband cables
      • agri-environmental research cluster on Martinique
      • Madeira's multi-purpose power station

    EU action

    Past policies

    The aim of past support programmes – POSEIDOM for the French overseas départements (1989), POSEICAN for the Canary Islands (1991) and POSEIMA for the Azores and Madeira (1991) – was to improve infrastructure, promote job-creating industries and develop human resources.

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

    Since 2004, the EU has had an integrated strategy, based on active partnership between the 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.

    Policy today

    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 high-value-added assets, e.g. the agri-food industry, biodiversity, renewable energy, astrophysics, aerospace, oceanography, vulcanology, seismology, and the regions' role as outposts of the EU.


    Total EU funding for 2007-13 for the outermost regions – ·€7.84bn, chiefly from the European regional development fund (€4.5bn) and the European social fund (€1.3bn) but also the agricultural fund for rural development and the fisheries fund.

    In addition to funding programmes, the EU takes account of the regions' special needs in initiatives on competition, agriculture, research, trade and transport.




    newThe Outermost Regions - European regions of assets and opportunities

    May 2010- Brochure pdf enesfrpt

    Cohesion Policy provides the ORs with important support designed to help them achieve greater economic and social convergence with the rest of the Community. On top of the €5 billion that these regions will receive for the 2007–13 period from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Cohesion Fund (for the Portuguese ORs) and the European Social Fund (ESF), the EU's Cohesion Policy has earmarked additional funding to offset higher costs faced by the ORs, at the rate of €35 per inhabitant per year (a total of €979 million for all the regions).


    More Publications en more



    Background information

    • Resource centry on outermost EU regions esfrpt
    • Digital technologies and the outermost EU regions– report Word Document fr


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