21 January 2014
In future, specific research programmes could be devised for the EU's outermost regions (ORs), as well as a dedicated Natura 2000 programme (for biodiversity conservation) and a special strategy for the development of renewable energies in ORs, hopes MEP Younous Omarjee (GUE-NGL, France). Omarjee, author of a report on synergies between Structural Funds and other programmes for ORs, will put forward these proposals in the Committee on Regional Development (REGI) on 22 January.
Hailing from Reunion, Omarjee has often reported back on ORs abandoned by the EU. “In addition to having to cope with problems caused by their geographical remoteness, the ORs often find that they are also remote from the thoughts of EU decision makers,” he says in his report. Hence his proposals, which must still be approved by his colleagues, and then must reach the European Commission.
The fact is that the participation of ORs in the EU's research programme did not amount to much. Yet, explains Omarjee, due to their location ORs could be at the forefront of research in a range of areas targeted by the 'Horizon 2020' research programme, such as space, biotechnology, monitoring of natural risks, marine research, biodversity, renewable energies and adaptation to climate change. He invites the Commission to initiate a global strategy, which includes not only ORs but also European overseas countries and territories (OCTs) because these contribute to the global dimension of the EU.