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Wednesday, 02 June 2010

Outermost regions demand special treatment in Europe

Political leaders from the EU’s outermost regions (ORs) argue that their special status merits tailor-made strategies and exemptions from a number of key European policies.The two-day forum, hosted by the Spanish EU Presidency, was the first of its kind and included delegates from as far as the South American continent (Guyana) and the Indian Ocean (Reunion) who came to present their demands to some of the EU’s biggest hitters. In particular, delegates remarked upon the heavyweight presence of French Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier, who rushed from vital EU meetings on banking regulations to deliver a keynote address. Delegates speaking to EurActiv on condition of anonymity argued that Barnier would have been compelled to attend and represent the French national interest, given that six of the nine ORs are French. However, Barnier argued that he has a longstanding relation with these “ultrapériphériques” (outermost regions), both as a former EU commissioner for regional policy and as a forceful backer of Article 349 of the Lisbon Treaty, which gave official recognition to the ORs’ status.

Source: Euractiv