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EU citizens living in EU outermost regions [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for EU citizens living in EU outermost regions.

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If you live in one of the European islands and territories far from the continent, the EU provides special assistance to your region. Nine regions are classified as EU outermost regions owing to their remoteness from the European continent: five French overseas departments (French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte and Réunion), one French overseas community (Saint-Martin), two Portuguese autonomous regions (Madeira and the Azores) and one Spanish autonomous community (the Canary Islands).

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These regions face particular challenges including, for example, remoteness, high unemployment, exposure to natural disasters, and energy supply, and the EU is committed to supporting them. The Treaty on the Functioning of the EU provides for specific measures in areas such as customs, trade and agriculture to support their development. For example, the ‘Programme of Options Specifically Relating to Remoteness and Insularity’, known as POSEI, promotes specific arrangements to ensure that food and other essential products remain affordable. A similar system is also in place for fisheries. The POSEI programme provides more than €100 million to Portugal, some €270 million to Spain, and almost €280 million to France. Together with the EU cohesion policy and €6.6 billion allocated under EU funds, the total support amounts to €13 billion.

This money turns into very concrete projects. In Mayotte, for example, the EU has funded the professionalisation of vanilla production, the creation of a university centre on the island in 2015 and the building of a hospital on ‘Petite Terre’ in 2014.

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