Brussels, 25 June 2013
Partnership in action: EU Outermost Regions present investment and growth plans for 2014-20 to European Commission
EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn will today receive the strategic growth plans for Europe’s eight Outermost Regions (OR). The Commissioner, who is responsible for coordinating all EU policies for these regions will be discussing the Action Plans in Brussels with Presidents and Vice-Presidents from The Azores, the Canary Islands, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Madeira, Martinique, La Réunion and St Martin. This is the first time the Outermost Regions have been asked to present this kind of individual strategy, which will cover not just how they plan to make the best use of EU structural funds but also how they think other EU policies can help their development. The plans identify which specific characteristics and strengths they aim to capitalise on with a view to diversifying and modernising their economies.
Ahead of today's discussions Commissioner Hahn said: "These new strategies are important tools to help Europe's Outermost Regions play to their strengths and boost their economies. Of course by virtue of their geography, these regions do face big challenges. But they also have unique assets. The action plans will identify how they intend to make the most of these, with the support of the whole range of EU instruments. They will be crucial for the work ahead with the Commission and the relevant Member States, in programming EU funds for the next period."
The Action Plans were requested by the Commission one year ago in the communication: "The Outermost regions of the European Union: towards a partnership for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth".
The strategies are toolkits for 2014-2020: not only in the use of Structural Funds, but how the OR can benefit from EU policies more broadly. They set out the steps to be taken on the regions’ individual paths to fulfilling Europe2020 growth goals, addressing issues such as youth unemployment and boosting local competitiveness. Today's event will also be attended by representatives from a number of Commission Directorates responsible for Maritime Policy, Employment, Agriculture, Transport, Trade, Development and the Single Market.
Some of the principal themes covered in today’s Action Plans include:
A press briefing will be held with Commissioner Hahn and the Regional Presidents in the Berlaymont (11th floor) at 16:00. Journalists are also welcome to attend Commissioner Hahn's opening address at 14:25.
More than EUR 5.9 billion have been allocated to the Outermost Regions for the period 2007-2013 under the Structural Funds. Within this amount, they currently benefit from a specific allocation of EUR 979 million (in 2004 prices) to take into account the specific challenges they face such as remoteness, insularity, small size, difficult topography and climate, and economic dependence on a few products. This special status is laid out in the EU Treaty, article 349.
Flagship projects already supported by EU funds:
Regional policy & outermost regions
Opening address and press briefing on EBS