In an exploratory opinion requested by the French presidency of the Council of the EU, the EESC calls on the European Commission to consider the substantial benefits that the outermost regions can bring to the future of Europe.

The Commission should take appropriate measures to ensure that these regions do not miss out on the post-COVID-19 recovery or on the climate, social and digital transitions. The EESC suggests new key steps for food and energy autonomy in the outermost regions, the green transition, sustainable tourism, social inclusion, the involvement of civil society, skilling and the problem of water and sanitation.

Rapporteur Joël Destom said, "The outermost regions should be viewed as test beds for promoting progress on a global scale, and can become models that can be replicated".

Co-rapporteur Gonçalo Lobo Xavier said, "The EESC calls for digital access in the outermost regions to be ensured, and for a major project for access to water and sanitation to be included in the next operational programmes". (tk)