Il-politika reġjonali u r-reġjuni l-aktar imbiegħda
L-Unjoni Ewropea tgħodd disa' Reġjuni Ultraperiferiċi, li huma ġeografikament 'il bogħod ħafna mill-kontinent Ewropew:
- Guadeloupe u La Réunion, (2 Reġjuni Franċiżi)
- Mayotte (1 Dipartiment Franċiż extra-Ewropew)
- Il-Guyana Franċiża u Martinique (2 Kollettivitajiet territorjali Franċiżi)
- Saint-Martin (1 Kollettività Franċiża extra-Ewropea)
- Madeira u l-Azores (żewġ reġjuni awtonomi Portugiżi)
- il-Gżejjer Kanarji (komunità awtonoma Spanjola)
Huma gżejjer u arċipelagi fil-baċir tal-Karibew, fl-Atlantiku tal-Punent, fl-Oċean Indjan jew fit-territorju tal-foresta tal-Amazonja. Minkejja d-distanza kbira li tisseparahom mill-kontinent, dawn ir-reġjuni huma parti integrali tal-UE. Fihom insibu 4,800,000 ċittadin, daqs fl-Irlanda.
Il-liġi tal-UE u d-drittijiet u dmirijiet kollha assoċjati mal-isħubija fl-UE japplikaw għar-Reġjuni Ultraperiferiċi, ħlief għal każijiet fejn hemm miżuri jew derogi speċifiċi. Skont l-Artikolu 349 tat-TFUE, dawn il-miżuri huma maħsubin biex jindirizzaw l-isfidi ffaċċjati mir-Reġjuni Ultraperiferiċi minħabba d-distanza, l-insularità, id-daqs żgħir, it-topografija u l-klima diffiċli, u d-dipendenza ekonomika tagħhom fuq ftit prodotti.
Ir-Reġjuni Ultraperiferiċi jibbenefikaw mill-finanzjament tal-Politika ta' Koeżjoni permezz tal-Fond Ewropew għall-Iżvilupp Reġjonali u l-Fond Soċjali Ewropew.
A European Strategy for the outermost regions
The European Commission has set out strategic orientations in favour of the outermost regions in four Communications (2004, 2008, 2012 and 2017).
The latest Communication of 24 October 2017 (COM (2017) 623 final), A stronger and renewed strategic partnership with the EU's outermost regions, proposes a new approach to provide opportunities and better address the specific needs of each of the nine outermost regions. By encouraging the regions to capitalise on their unique assets, the strategy helps them create new prospects for their people, boosts competitiveness and innovation in key sectors, and deepens their cooperation with neighbouring countries.
The Strategy is based on four pillars:
- Strong partnership: the strategy foresees a closer cooperation between the outermost regions, their respective Member States and the European Commission, establishing a closer dialogue in the shaping and implementation of EU programmes and policies.
- Building on assets: the strategy encourages the outermost regions to make use of their assets through investments in growth-enhancing areas such as blue economy, research, circular economy, space science, responsible tourism, or renewable energy; it also focus on the modernisation of key traditional sectors such as fisheries and agriculture sectors.
- Enabling growth and job creation: with higher unemployment rates, the outermost regions require specific measures to increase employability and skills, in particular amongst young people. The strategy aims to strengthen exchanges in the field of higher education and training and to support the mobility of young professionals.
- Scaling up cooperation: the strategy contributes to deepening the outermost regions’ ties with neighbouring countries by facilitating the uptake of joint projects and initiatives.
The implementation of the 2017 strategy to date
1. Implementing the strategic partnership with the outermost regions
The European Commission adopted a report on 23 March 2020 reviewing the progress made in implementing the 2017 Communication “A stronger and renewed strategic partnership with the EU's outermost regions”. The report presents actions undertaken by the Commission, the outermost regions and their Member States.
The report concludes that:
- the Commission, the outermost regions and their respective Member States are on the right track in transforming the Communication into reality with tangible results on the ground;
- the Commission has delivered on its commitments by creating specific opportunities for the outermost regions in a wide range of EU programmes and by consistently adapting EU legislation, policies and tools to these regions’ specific circumstances in line with art. 349 of the Treaty;
- further efforts are needed to address climate change, protect biodiversity, introduce circular economy, and boost renewable energy.
2. Outermost regions in Commission proposals for EU programmes 2021-2027
Since the adoption of the 2017 Communication, there has been significant progress in implementing the measures envisaged. The European Commission has enshrined the specificities of the outermost regions in 21 proposals for future EU programmes across a wide range of policies, including cohesion, research, agricultural and fisheries policies.
- The Commission proposed that the outermost regions continue receiving a specific additional allocation; that they benefit from the maximum rate of EU co-financing of 70%; and that they can invest EU funds in airports (not allowed in the rest of the EU).
- The Commission further proposed a specific outermost regions’ component under the European territorial cooperation goal (‘Interreg’) to support outermost regions in their integration in the parts of the world where they are situated.
Maritime and Fisheries Policy
- Under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, the Commission proposed to allocate EUR 315 million to support the fisheries sector in the nine regions, including the continuation of a 100 % compensation for additional costs linked to their specific situation. The financial package earmarked for these regions aims to help develop sustainable fisheries and a sustainable maritime economy and to support small-scale coastal fishermen.
Agricultural and Biodiversity Policy
- The proposal for a reform of the Common Agricultural Policy maintains the POSEI scheme – a special programme dedicated to the outermost regions with a financial support of EUR 627 million per year.
- The Commission proposed further funding from the European budget for rural development, supporting biodiversity in agriculture and forestry and promoting the economic development of rural areas. The Commission proposal provides the most advantageous rate of European co-financing for the outermost regions (70%).
- The Commission further proposed that the environment and climate action programme LIFE pays special attention to the outermost regions in its calls for proposals. The programme will support small projects for protecting biodiversity and ecosystems in these regions.
Investment and Infrastructure
- The Commission proposal for InvestEU envisages that Member States can transfer part of their shared management resources to this new instrument — particularly in vulnerable and isolated regions such as the outermost regions — in order to access the guarantee provided by the EU budget.
- The Commission proposal for the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) foresees support for transport projects in the outermost regions, including maritime ports and urban roads, with a higher rate.
- The Digital Europe programme’s proposal seeks to contribute to greater connectivity and better digital skills in the outermost regions. Digital innovation hubs will help these regions to participate in the Digital Single Market.
Education and Research Policy
- The proposals for Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps programmes seek to step up the outermost regions’ participation, in particular cooperation with third countries.
- Under Horizon Europe, the Commission proposed to open the 'Widening Participation and Spreading Excellence’ programme” – to share expertise and help countries & regions lagging behind – to the outermost regions to help them build on their assets and develop their full potential. Horizon Europe covers important topics for the outermost regions such as renewable energy, combating climate change, tropical diseases, biodiversity and the blue economy.
- The proposed new Asylum and Migration Fund and the Internal Security Fund envisage to provide Member States with resources to help their regions manage migration sustainably and address situations of migratory pressure with which some outermost regions are faced.
3. Other initiatives put forward by the Commission
In 2019 and 2020, the Commission included the outermost regions’ concerns and interests in a range of initiatives.
European Green Deal
- The Commission committed itself in the “European Green Deal” Communication to paying particular attention to the role of the outermost regions, taking into account their vulnerability to climate change and natural disasters and their unique assets: biodiversity and renewable energy sources. In its 2020 Circular Economy Action Plan, the Commission pledges to tailor circular economy solutions to the outermost regions and islands, due to their dependence on resource imports, high waste generation fuelled by tourism, and waste exports.
- The Commission recommended key sectors of investment in the outermost regions to France, Portugal and Spain in 2019. The 2019 Council’s specific recommendations further call on these Member States to use cohesion funds taking into account regional disparities and the situation of the outermost regions.
- The Commission analysed the possible impact of trade agreements under negotiation on the outermost regions. The 2019 political agreement on the trade part of the EU-Mercosur Association agreement contains a safeguard clause to protect outermost regions’ local production.
In November 2018, the Commission further presented a series of concrete measures to promote innovation, circular economy and blue growth.
Public aid for the purchase of new vessels in the outermost regions
- The amended guidelines on public aid for fisheries and aquaculture allow, exceptionally, the purchase of new vessels in the outermost regions, with the possibility of higher assistance rates for small and medium-sized vessels. This decision stems from the need to ensure fleet safety and protect an economic activity that is important to these regions.
Project FORWARD: promoting research and innovation in the outermost regions
- The Commission launched a coordination and support measure backed by EUR 4.3 million under Horizon 2020, to which the outermost regions responded with the 3 year project FORWARD.
- Bringing together 24 partners from the nine regions and coordinated by the Canary Islands, the project aims to increase these regions’ capacity to participate in international research projects.
- The project will analyse the innovation systems of these regions and mobilise local stakeholders around long-term innovation strategies based on their specific strengths (‘smart specialisation’).
Better access to the Juncker Plan and flourishing investment projects
- The European Investment Advisory Platform (the "Hub") has formulated recommendations to improve access to finance for small and medium companies in the outermost regions.
- More than EUR 2.2 billion in additional investments were mobilised by the European Strategic Investment Fund (EFSI) in the outermost regions.
Tailored support from the EU, with the launch of two task forces in Reunion and the Canary Islands
- The Commission launched two task forces to provide tailor-made support to two outermost regions: a task force on energy transition with the Reunion Island (2018) and a taskforce on waste management with the Canary Islands (2019).
4. Financial support for the outermost regions
Between 2014 and 2020, the EU has allocated EUR 13.8 billion to the outermost regions under cohesion policy, agriculture and fisheries. All community policies apply to the outermost regions and should contribute to their development.
Cohesion policy (regional development and employment) helps the outermost regions progress towards the EU 2020 targets; and modernise and diversify their economic activities:
- The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) includes an additional specific allocation to offset the extra costs of the outermost regions linked to their specific constraints.
- The ERDF, the Cohesion Fund (for the Portuguese regions) and the European Social Fund (ESF) are key tools to support investment in the outermost regions.
- Territorial cooperation programmes (INTERREG), co-financed by ERDF, help the outermost regions strengthen their integration with their regional partners. There are six cross-border and transnational programmes devoted to the outermost regions.
In the areas of fisheries and agriculture, the outermost regions also benefit from several specific measures and financial instruments:
- The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).
- The European Agricultural Funs for Rural Development (EAFRD).
- The Programme for Options Specifically Relating to Remoteness and Insularity (POSEI).
The outermost regions are also benefiting from a range of European programmes:
- The Horizon 2020 research programme.
- The European programme for SMEs (COSME).
- The EaSi (for employment and social innovation)
- The ERASMUS+ programme (education, training, youth and sport).
Outermost regions Forum 12-14 October 2020
Commissioner Ferreira’s address to the outermost regions, Conference of the Presidents in Saint Martin , 6 and 7 February 2020EU strategy for the outermost regions, one year on
On 22-23 November 2018, Commissioner Corina Creţu attended the Conference of Presidents of the outermost regions in the Canary Islands. On this occasion the Commissioner presented various new initiatives on the implementation of the EU strategy for the outermost regions, one year after its adoption. This includes the outermost regions' specificities being enshrined in twenty-one proposals for post-2020 European programmes; new rules on state aid to help fishermen in the outermost regions to buy new vessels; new opportunities for research and innovation through a new project under Horizon 2020, called 'FORWARD' ; the implementation of tailor-made solutions through task forces to support the energy transition in Reunion Island or the waste management in Canary Islands.
Smart Regions' story : The Canary Islands
The Canary Islands region had an extremely high unemployment in the past years. The main problem was its isolation. Being located far away in the middle of the ocean, meant they had less opportunities for business activities and economic exchanges then other regions on the mainland. But once they started to see their unique remote location as an opportunity, and started to use the ocean as a new source of energy, the economic recovery kicked in. Now having a scientific and an industrial test site, funded by the EU, offers its users not only data and knowledge on oceanic parameters, but also offers services. This opportunity has been exploited in order to create economic growth and bring the Canary islands to the path of recovery and job creation. As Dominique Foray, from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, explained: "Every region is able to identify some strategic domains where new opportunities can be identified and supported, to build competitive advantage for the future.
Les régions ultrapériphériques: un partenariat renouvelé
- 15th October 2020 - Outermost regions: scaling up cooperation 18th European Week of the regions and cities
- 14th October 2020 - MFF 2021-2027 - Outermost Regions - 18th European week of the regions and cities
- 26th June 2020 - Webinar on How to boost blue economy amid COVID-19 crisis
- 12, 13 and 14 October 2020: Forum of the outermost regions 2020 : Together for a sustainable future
- 5 to 7 February 2020: Conference of Presidents of the outermost regions in Saint-Martin
- 16th July 2019: Maritime and fisheries forum for the outermost regions.
- 9 May 2019: Citizens’ Dialogue in Madeira
- 18 March 2019: Citizens’ Dialogue in the Azores
- Conference of Presidents of the outermost regions in Las Palmas, Canary Islands (22 and 23 November 2018): Press release, Speech of the Commissioner, Speech of the President of the Conference of Presidents of the Outermost Regions.
- Citizens Dialogue on Education, Las Palmas (21 November 2018).
- “The outermost regions: an opportunity for Europe”, European Week of Regions and Cities in Brussels (11 October 2018). Report, Pictures
- Conference des Presidents, Cayenne 26 and 27 October 2017 - Discours du Président Juncker
- The European Commission hosted the Fourth Forum of the outermost regions entitled "The outermost regions, European lands in the world: toward a renewed strategy" in Brussels on 30-31 March 2017 (Charlemagne Building, 170 rue de la Loi). Fourth Forum of the outermost regions
Legislation and other measures
- Report on the implementation of the Commission Communication on a stronger and renewed strategic partnership with the EU's outermost regions - Annex
- Communication "A stronger and renewed strategic partnership with the EU's outermost regions" - COM(2017) 623 final - Annex "Comprehensive list of actions" - Staff Working Document: Part 1 / Part 2
- Article 349 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union
- The outermost regions of the European Union: towards a partnership for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth - COM(2012)287
- The outermost regions: a lasting support from the EU: EN ES FR PT
- The EU strategy for the outermost regions, one year on: EN ES FR PT
- The Juncker plan at work in the outermost regions: EN ES FR PT
Regional factsheets and projects examples
- Canary Islands
- French Guiana
- Reunion Island
- Saint Martin
Programmes ERDF/ESF 2014-2020
- Regional programme Guyane 2014-2020
- Regional programme Martinique 2014-2020
- Regional programme Mayotte 2014-2020
- Regional programme Réunion 2014-2020
- Regional programme Guadeloupe et St Martin 2014-2020
- Regional programme Azores 2014-2020
- Regional programme Madeira 2014-2020
- Regional programme Canarias 2014-2020
- Operational programme Interreg Caraibes 2014-2020
- Operational programme Saint-Martin/Saint-Marteen 2014-2020
- Operational programme Amazonie/Plateau des Guyanes 2014-2020
- Operational programme MAC (Madère – Azores – Canaries)2014-2020
- Operational programme Océan Indien 2014-2020
- Operational programme Mayotte, Comorres, Madagascar 2014-2020
Contributions of the Regions and the Member States
- Déclaration des Présidents des Régions Ultrapériphériques de l’Union Européenne, Visioconference, 3 Mai 2021
- Déclaration des Présidents des Régions Ultrapériphériques de l’Union Européenne, Mayotte, 26 et 27 novembre 2020
- Déclaration des Présidents des Régions Ultrapériphériques" (Saint-Martin, 5-7 février 2020)
- Declaration of the Presidents of the Outermost Regions (Las Palmas, 22 and 23 November 2018)
- Déclaration des Présidents des Régions Ultrapériphériques" (Kourou, 26-27 october 2017)
- Position commune des autorités espagnoles, françaises, et portugaises et des neuf régions ultrapériphériques
- Contribution from Portugal to the new European Commission’s strategy for the Outermost Regions -
- Spanish Authorities’ contribution to the new strategy for Outermost Regions -
- Déclaration des Présidents des Régions Ultrapériphériques" (Madeira, 22 september 2016)
Studies and publications
- Stories of European Cooperation - The outermost regions EN
- ‘Assess the potential for Investment Platforms supported by the Junker Plan in the outermost regions’, study by the European Investment Bank (July 2018): EN ES FR PT.
- ‘Committing to the outermost regions’, article in Panorama, no. 67 (December 2018): EN ES FR PT
- ‘EU Strategy to help its outermost regions’, article in Panorama, no. 63 (December 2017): EN ES FR PT
- The economic impact of climate change and adaptation in the outermost regions (June 2014): EN
- Study on migration and demographic trends in the outermost regions (February 2012): EN
- Growth factors in the outermost regions (January 2011): EN
- Assess the potential for Investment Platforms supported by the Junker Plan in the outermost regions - Feasibility study
- Analyse de la mise en oeuvre des stratégies de spécialisation intelligente dans les régions ultrapéripheriques
- Realising the potential of the outermost regions for sustainable blue growth - Executive Summary
- Final report on transport accessibility for the EU outermost regions
- Final report on energy for the EU outermost regions
- Final report on digital accessibility and ICT for the EU outermost regions
- Final report on green and circular economy in the outermost regions
- Memorandum conjoint des regions ultraperipheriques - Pour un nouvel élan dans la mise en oeuvre de l’article 349 TFUE
- The outermost regions: European lands in the world
- Les effets de l’octroi du statut de région ultrapériphérique
- POSEI: evaluation and report from the European Commission
- Riċerka u innovazzjoni
- Teknoloġija tal-informazzjoni u tal-kommunikazzjoni
- Kompetittività tal-SME
- Ekonomija b’karbonju baxx
- It-tibdil fil-klima u l-prevenzjoni tar-riskji
- L-ambjent u l-effiċjenza fl-użu tar-riżorsi
- It-trasport u netwerks tal-enerġija
- L-impjiegi u s-suq tax-xogħol
- L-inklużjoni soċjali
- Edukazzjoni u taħriġ
- Amministrazzjoni pubblika effiċjenti