Evaluate the implementation of Article 349 TFEU so far;
Make an assessment of the measures proposed by the Communication on the renewed EU Strategy on Outermost Regions that the European Commission adopted in September 2017.
Take a closer look at the ways in which the European Commission has considered the proposals included in the Memoradum adopted by the Conference of Presidents of the Outermost Regions adopted on 30 March 2017.
Provide concrete input on how to implement the proposed measures within the framework of the discussions on cohesion policy post 2020 and a proposal for the new Multiannual Financial Framework post-2020.
The General Affairs Council conclusions entitled "Streamlining the Delivery System and Implementation of Cohesion Policy and the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds post-2020": "Welcomes the Commission Communication “A stronger and renewed strategic partnership with the EU’s outermost regions” and INVITES the Commission to continue working on specific measures for the Outermost Regions in accordance with Art. 349 TFEU.”
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- acknowledges the exceptional richness of their ecosystems, their great potential for developing renewable energy, marine and maritime, environmental, aerospace, astronomical, vulcanological, oceanographic and agricultural research activities, and sustainable tourism, and their rich cultural heritage;
- points out that the new communication on the ORs is part of the EU's discussion on its future and the design of the next programming period, and that it comes in the light of the judgment of the Court of Justice of the EU of December 2015, which definitively clarified the scope of Article 349 TFEU as an autonomous and sufficient legal basis for the outermost regions;
- believes that the new communication should make it possible to tackle the challenge of applying Article 349 TFEU systematically, thereby reconciling three aims in a single approach: equal opportunities, competitiveness and external reach: three inseparable dimensions which have become indicators for any ambitious public policy for the ORs, with tools to guarantee equal rights for their citizens;
- welcomes the fact that the Commission has decided to strengthen its partnership with the ORs to enable them to develop their full potential and benefit fully from EU membership, taking into account their concerns and opinions through ongoing dialogue. A stronger partnership between the ORs, their Member States, the EU institutions, the EIB and private sector stakeholders, is an essential dimension;
- welcomes the fact that the Commission commits to assessing whether a specific allocation under the ESF for the ORs is justified; the uniqueness recognised in Article 349 TFEU broadly supports this allocation: therefore supports the call of the European Parliament and the ORs for it to be included in the next regulatory proposal on the ESF;
- points to the strategic importance of accessibility (transport, energy and telecommunications) for the ORs, essential for endogenous development in these regions which are remote and isolated from mainland Europe, and in ensuring equality of treatment of their citizens.