13 February 2014
A specific Natura 2000 programme, research projects for the outermost regions, a global overseas strategy: these are just some of the demands the European Parliament's Committee on Regional Development (REGI) has made to help outermost regions of the EU(1). These countries feature in a resolution that involves creating synergies between Structural Funds and other EU programmes for ORs, which was adopted by the REGI committee on 11 February. The rapporteur is Younous Omarjee (GUE-NGL, France).
Why is there a need for specific research programmes for the ORs? The resolution highlights that it is because ORs did not get enough out of the research framework programme during the 2007-2013 period. This was due to the ORs' specific characteristics, which made it difficult for them to meet the requirements of such programmes. As a result, ORs are not really involved or present in the EU's research networks. Specific OR programmes would change that. Especially as, say MEPs, these regions could be at the forefront of key areas of the Horizon 2020 programme, such as space, observation of natural hazards, marine research or adapting to climate change.
This also applies for Natura 2000. Habitats and animal and plant species that need to be protected in the French outermost regions were not included in Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora. These regions were excluded from the Natura 2000 networks and programmes. MEPs say that it is an oversight that needs to be fixed with a special programme and specific funding.
(1) Guadeloupe, French Guyana, Reunion, Martinique, Mayotte, Saint-Martin, the Azores, Madeira and the Canaries