The benefits of the outermost regions for the European Union

EESC opinion: The benefits of the outermost regions for the European Union

Key points:


  • recognises that despite the thousands of kilometres separating them from the European continent, the outermost regions (ORs) are an integral part of the EU. The outermost regions (ORs) are islands, archipelagos and one land territory (French Guiana). Nine of these regions are located in the western Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean basin, the Amazon forest and the Indian Ocean. It also stresses that ORs represent Europe on a global level and provide Europe with a maritime area unmatched by other power, and multiple geostrategic assets;
  • calls on the Commission to consider the considerable benefits that the ORs can provide for the future of Europe, to frame them as test-beds for promoting progress on a global scale (Europe's food and energy autonomy, the green transition, sustainable tourism, social inclusion, the involvement of civil society organisations, etc.). The ORs can become models which can be replicated in the various geographical areas in which they are located;
  • underlined the importance of a robust and resilient food system that can operate in all circumstances and provide people with enough food at affordable prices. The Farm to Fork strategy is a new comprehensive approach that shows just how important food sustainability is for Europeans. It is a way to improve lifestyles, health and the environment. European policy in the outermost regions must promote their food autonomy so that they can act as trailblazers for Europe;
  • calls on the Commission to develop strong policy guidelines for tourism: the aim is to bring together and think about a change of scale, integrating sustainability principles into all activities, for all occupations, since tourism plays a major role in the ORs' development;
  • calls on the Commission to take into account the specific nature of the ORs into its work schedule for the Farm to Fork Strategy and to ensure that the POSEI national programmes (Programme of Options Specifically Relating to Remoteness and Insularity) comply with the key objective of promoting sustainable agriculture;
  • calls on the Commission not to reduce dedicated support to the ORs in the economic context of a post-COVID-19 recovery, since they need adequate financial resources to achieve the objectives set out in the EU strategy set out in the Fit for 55 package;
  • calls on the Commission to ensure that the implementation of Article 349 TFEU does not hinder the review of climate, energy and transport legislation, which aims to bring current texts into line with the goals for 2030 and 2050;
  • calls on the Commission to overhaul the way it consults the public, to enable any individual or business to take part in consultations without first requiring them to be included on the transparency register. Civil society must be genuinely involved in shaping European programmes and this must be done in direct cooperation with local and regional stakeholders.