Regional policy & outermost regions
The European Union counts nine Outermost Regions, which are geographically very distant from the European continent:
- Guadeloupe and La Réunion, (2 French Regions)
- Mayotte (1 French overseas department)
- French Guiana and Martinique (2 French territorial collectivities)
- Saint-Martin (1 French overseas collectivity)
- Madeira and Azores (2 Portuguese autonomous regions)
- Canary Islands (1 Spanish autonomous community)
They are islands and archipelagos located in the Caribbean basin, in the western Atlantic and in the Indian Ocean or landlocked territory in the Amazonian forest. Despite the thousands of kilometers separating them from the European continent, these regions are an integral part of the EU. They welcome 4.8 million of citizens, a population equivalent to that of Ireland.
EU law and all the rights and duties associated with EU membership apply to the Outermost Regions, except for cases where there are specific measures or derogations. In accordance with Article 349 of the TFEU, these specific measures are designed to address the challenges faced by the Outermost Regions because of their remoteness, insularity, small size, difficult topography and climate, and economic dependence on a few products.
The Outermost Regions benefit from Cohesion Policy funding through the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund.
As well as specific constraints, the ORs also have unique potential and assets which can benefit the Union. They provide a European presence in strategic areas of the world, and have exceptional geographical and geological characteristics which make them useful laboratories for research and innovation in industries of the future such as biodiversity, terrestrial and marine ecosystems, pharmacology, renewable energies, and the space sciences.
European Strategy for the Outermost regions
The Outermost regions and EU policy
EU partnership with the Outermost regions
- Research and innovation
- Information and communication technologies
- SME competitiveness
- Low carbon economy