Developing the Outermost Regions' full potential: Commissioner Hahn to discuss next steps
EU Regional Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn will join the Presidents of Europe’s Outermost Regions later today as they gather for their annual conference on the French island of Reunion. Commissioner Hahn will welcome the Outermost Regions' commitment in providing Action Plans - first proposed by the Commission - on how they intend to make the best use of EU funds for 2014-2020. Later in the four-day visit, Commissioner Hahn will be travelling on to Mayotte which will gain Outermost Region status in January 2014.
The conference on October 19 is hosted by Didier Robert, President of the Regional Council of La Reunion, and current chair of the group of eight Outermost Regions (Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Reunion, 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 Lithuanian Presidency of the EU.
Speaking ahead of the conference, Commissioner Hahn said, "The action plans now being presented by the Outermost Regions are already proving a very useful exercise in strategic thinking and I am delighted that every one of the eight outermost regions, as well as Mayotte, which joins in January, will have one."
"In the context of the Action Plans, the regions have worked hard to bring forward growth and investment strategies for 2014-2020 - not just for funds under EU Regional Policy but for all the EU’s structural investment funds. Critically too the Action Plans have encouraged a shift in perception: we are no longer defining the Outermost Regions by their handicaps but by their many assets and advantages as well. Now, we need to make sure these plans feed into the Partnership Agreements and the programmes, and be careful not to take our foot off the gas."
On Mayotte which the Commissioner will visit for the first time, Commissioner added "I look forward to welcoming Mayotte as a member of the new family of Outermost Regions from January 2014. The key challenges ahead for Mayotte will be to accelerate preparations on how EU investments are to be used and to make sure there is the capacity to spend and administer the greatly increased funds available. This will be vital to help improve the lives of people living here and make the region more prosperous."