Outermost regions of the EU: Towards a renewed strategy

28-03-2017

The EU's outermost regions qualify for special treatment owing to structural difficulties, such as remoteness, difficult topography or economic dependence on a few products, which can severely hamper their development. Specific mechanisms exist under cohesion, agricultural and fisheries policies, with the Commission publishing a communication in 2012 setting out how it can work in partnership with the outermost regions and their respective countries to achieve the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy. While a renewed strategy is due to be prepared by the Commission by the end of 2017, the outermost regions continue to face numerous challenges in areas such as mobility, unemployment and climate change. Stakeholders have already begun to draft their contributions to this renewed strategy, highlighting issues such as the need to ensure that trade agreements take better account of outermost regions' needs, maintain specific provisions for these regions in areas such as cohesion, agriculture and fisheries policy, and provide the outermost regions with improved access to horizontal programmes. Parliament's Committee on Regional Development is preparing an own-initiative report on the outermost regions as part of this process. It remains to be seen, however, how receptive the Commission will be to these proposals in a context of increasing budgetary pressure. Bringing together representatives of the Commission and the outermost regions, as well as some of the key stakeholders involved, the fourth forum on outermost regions to be held on 30-31 March 2017 will provide a key platform for discussions that can shape the future development of the outermost regions for generations to come.

The EU's outermost regions qualify for special treatment owing to structural difficulties, such as remoteness, difficult topography or economic dependence on a few products, which can severely hamper their development. Specific mechanisms exist under cohesion, agricultural and fisheries policies, with the Commission publishing a communication in 2012 setting out how it can work in partnership with the outermost regions and their respective countries to achieve the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy. While a renewed strategy is due to be prepared by the Commission by the end of 2017, the outermost regions continue to face numerous challenges in areas such as mobility, unemployment and climate change. Stakeholders have already begun to draft their contributions to this renewed strategy, highlighting issues such as the need to ensure that trade agreements take better account of outermost regions' needs, maintain specific provisions for these regions in areas such as cohesion, agriculture and fisheries policy, and provide the outermost regions with improved access to horizontal programmes. Parliament's Committee on Regional Development is preparing an own-initiative report on the outermost regions as part of this process. It remains to be seen, however, how receptive the Commission will be to these proposals in a context of increasing budgetary pressure. Bringing together representatives of the Commission and the outermost regions, as well as some of the key stakeholders involved, the fourth forum on outermost regions to be held on 30-31 March 2017 will provide a key platform for discussions that can shape the future development of the outermost regions for generations to come.