European Commission

European Commission

The European Commission, guardian of the Treaties, is the executive and legislative initiative body of the European Union. It is responsible for proposing legislation to the European Parliament and the Council, for implementing decisions and for upholding the Union’s treaties.

European Commission and the ORs

The Commission has established actions in favour of the outermost regions through a series of Communications on these regions (2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2017 and 2022), which have enabled the Commission to formulate proposals for adapting legislation which considers the specific characteristics of the outermost regions in the various common policies.

The European Commission has renewed and reinforced its Strategy by adopting, on 3 May 2022, the Communication “Putting people first, securing sustainable and inclusive growth, unlocking the potential of the EU’s outermost regions”, which reflects the Commission’s commitment to the ORs, in accordance with Article 349 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU.

The Communication presents the priorities for EU action with and for the outermost regions to foster their development, as well as recommendations for action by the outermost regions and their Member States – France, Portugal and Spain.

The Commission also sets out the measures it considers necessary to promote recovery and sustainable growth in these regions, following the severe impact of the coronavirus pandemic in the ORs.

The renewed and reinforced strategy demonstrates the Commission’s unwavering commitment to the ORs, which it considers to be:

  • an institutional obligation, provided for in Article 349 TFEU,
  • a political imperative, given the 5 million European citizens living in the ORs,
  • an economic necessity given the untapped potential in the ORs, particularly for the green economy,
  • and a geostrategic investment, enhancing the role of these regions as gateways from the European Union to the rest of the world.

Pilars of the new strategy

  • Build on the unique assets of each region;
  • Supporting sustainable economic transformation;
  • Strengthen regional cooperation with neighbouring countries and territories.
  • Strengthening partnership, dialogue and support for these regions

The Communication is accompanied by a Commission Staff Working Paper entitled “Outermost Regions at a glance – assets, challenges and opportunities” (SWD/2022/133 final) which provides an overview of each outermost region.

It is also accompanied by a synthesis report entitled “Synopsis report on the results of the Communication on the Communication on the Outermost Regions consultation activities” (SWD(2022) 134 final), which provides a summary of the public consultation process that preceded the preparation of the Communication.

Outermost Regions Unit at DG REGIO

Furthermore, the Commission has an Outermost Regions Unit within the Directorate-General for Regional Policy (DG REGIO), which currently reports to the Commissioner for this policy, Elisa Ferreira. The mission of the ORs Unit is to coordinate actions in favour of the ORs, ensuring that the interests and particularities of these regions are reflected in the various sectoral rules of European law. It is also responsible for channelling contacts with the national and regional administrations involved.