Published On: Sat, Jul 25th, 2020

Recovery plan and European budget: major advances for overseas territories like St. Martin and St.Barth

Euros bank notes

FRENCH SAINT MARTIN — The agreement reached this week at the European Council marks an important step in the recovery of Europe: the budget of the European Union for the period 2021-2027 is increased to €1,074 billion, and in order to support the economy, which faces a historic recession, a recovery plan of 750 billion euros has been decided, indicates the Minister of Overseas Territories in a press release.

In this fund, 390 billion euros will be allocated to the states most affected by the pandemic in subsidies. It will be a common debt to be repaid by the 27.

As part of the negotiations in Brussels, France has forcefully made specific demands for the overseas territories which have been heard and acted upon. For the latter, this agreement represents major advances: they are among the main beneficiaries of the EU budget.

The specific allocation for the outermost regions – Reunion, Guyana, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Mayotte, Saint-Martin -, which aims to compensate for the additional costs linked to the outermost peripherality (for example aid to the cost of freight for overseas companies) is increased by 33%, ie a total amount of €1,928 million for all outermost regions against €1,400 million in the previous compromise.

The envelope allocated to the overseas countries and territories – in particular New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, Saint-Barthélemy, the French Southern and Antarctic Territories, Wallis and Futuna – amounted to 444 million euros: the territorialized portion of this envelope increased by 4% in current euros compared to the 2014-2020 generation.

In order to support the economic recovery in the Overseas Territories, the maximum co-financing rate for projects has been maintained at 85%, as for the previous generation (while the initial proposal, subject to negotiation, lowered this rate to 70%). This means that Europe will be able to finance overwhelmingly projects in the French overseas departments and territories (for example, infrastructure), up to 85% of the total eligible amount.

These funds will make it possible to respond to the main challenges in the French Overseas Territories, for example by financing the renovation of water and sanitation networks, bringing buildings up to earthquake-resistant standards, the fight against dropping out of school and illiteracy, support to decarbonization and business R&D.

In addition, for the first time in European history, the budget is linked to climate objectives: no project that degrades the climate can be supported and 30% of the funds are reserved for ecological transition.

“More than elsewhere, in the French overseas territories, the economic recovery will have to take into account the specificity of the territories. This is why it was important to obtain more resources for our outermost regions, which are facing structural challenges linked to their insularity. The advances obtained last night by the President of the Republic in their favor make it possible to ensure a sustainable economic recovery, by reconciling growth and preservation of the environment. This is a first step in the implementation of recovery plans by territory and it is historic.” explains Sébastien Lecornu, Minister of Overseas France.

As published in the Soualiga Post and translated with Google

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