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2nd Forum of the Outermost Regions: Working together towards Europe 2020

Brussels, 2 and 3 July 2012

Introduction

The second meeting of the Forum on the Outermost Regions will be held on 2 and 3 July 2012 in Brussels.

The forum will address major issues in the development of the 8 outermost regions of Europe in the perspective of the 'Europe 2020 Strategy' to promote growth that is smart, sustainable and inclusive. Politicians, representatives from European institutions and from the outermost regions, experts, socio-professionals and private investors will exchange views on topics such as the potential of the sea, modernisation of agriculture, environmental challenges, social challenges, jobs or even innovation and business competitiveness.

The European Union has eight Outermost Regions (OR): the four French overseas departments of Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique and Réunion, the French overseas collectivity of Saint Martin, the autonomous Portuguese regions of the Azores and Madeira, and finally the Autonomous Spanish Community of the Canary Islands. Following an official request from France, the process of changing the status of Mayotte is underway. Starting from 2014, this Overseas Territory will become an outermost region if the European Council so decides.

The first Forum, held in 2010, brought together over 500 participants, including European Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn, European MPs, high-level European, national and regional political representatives and participants from academia, trade associations, the private sector and socio-professionals. The plenary sessions facilitated fruitful exchanges and a wide-ranging debate that was open, frank and animated on the ORs' potential as well as on the challenges they face for entry into the internal European market.

This second Forum will be held in the same spirit as the first, at a time when reflections and proposals on the political future of the Union in several areas are having a significant impact on these regions. The Forum will also be conducted against the backdrop of the new communication on the future strategy with regard to the ORs to be adopted by the European Commission in June.

This meeting should also contribute to providing European decision-makers with information on all of these regions' specific benefits and potential and to promoting and advocating for their special features and unique assets within the Union. There is no doubt that it will be an interesting opportunity for an exchange of experiences and good practices between the various OR stakeholders.

 

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