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Outermost regions

The European Union (EU) has nine ‘outermost regions’ (ORs): Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Mayotte, Réunion and Saint Martin (France), the Canary Islands (Spain) and the Azores and Madeira (Portugal). The ORs are an integral part of the EU and must apply its laws and obligations.

The ORs are distinguished by their remoteness from mainland Europe, insularity, small size (except French Guiana), difficult topography and climate and economic dependence on a few products.

Over the years, the Commission has adopted several communications on the ORs. The last one was adopted in 2012 (COM(2012)  287: The outermost regions of the European Union: towards a partnership for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth), in which it supports the ORs in exploiting all opportunities for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth based on their assets and endogenous potential,it ensures that European policy frameworks contribute to reducing obstacles specific to the ORs’ full integration into the single market and it increases recognition of the ORs as an asset to all, and of the need to take their specificities and constraints into account.

Article 349 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU recognises the specific constraints of the ORs and provides for the adoption of specific measures in their regard. The ORs, as fully fledged EU regions and in contrast with the overseas countries and territories, are eligible for funding from the European Structural and Investment Funds.