(24 October 2017) – The European Commission is today presenting a “new strategy” for the outermost regions, those nine regions located thousands of kilometres from continental Europe, “to help them fulfil their full potential.”
For many years the EU has acknowledged the specific features common to the Azores, the Canary Islands, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Madeira, Martinique, Mayotte, Réunion and Saint Martin, and has afforded them a special status. For the first time, however, the Commission is working with the Member States to establish customised support to help these regions build on their unique assets and create opportunities for their inhabitants.
A platform for dialogue will bring together the regions and their Member States, the European institutions and private stakeholders, who will meet to exchange views during the legislative process. The Commission will also establish, on request, special working groups on specific issues, such as making the best use of European funds or promoting employment.
In order to promote innovation and investment, the EU will help the regions to participate in the Horizon 2020 research programme, with special coordination and support action. A new initiative will be created under the Juncker Plan with the aim of facilitating regions’ access to the European fund for strategic investments (EFSI).
The Commission will provide for the POSEI programmes to continue beyond 2020 and will assess whether State aid can be used to support the renewal of small-scale fishing fleets.
In order to promote the acquisition of skills and mobility, Europe will give young people in these regions a financial boost to enable more of them to participate in the Erasmus programme and in the European Solidarity Corps.
Extreme weather events, such as Hurricane Irma, have demonstrated that these regions need help in tackling the effects of climate change. The EU will incorporate the challenges facing them into its LIFE programme and its strategy on adaptation to climate change, which is currently being evaluated with a view to possible revision.