Modernisation and Europe

One of Europe’s Outermost regions (ORs), Guadeloupe benefits from the European Union’s (EU) support for its economic, social and cultural development. Since 1989, Europe has been granting our archipelago with structural funds (ERDF, ESF, EAFRD) via multi-year programmes.

As the managing authority for these programmes, the Guadeloupe Regional Council thereby benefits from complementary financial resources, essential to increase our territory’s competitiveness and attractiveness. This funding contributes notably to supporting local actors — they key cogs of our archipelago’s vitality.

As a French territory located in the Caribbean, Guadeloupe is one of Europe’s Outermost regions (ORs) — a status recognised and regulated since December 1st, 2009 in articles 349 and 355 of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

ORs are an integral part of the European Union and are subject to the same laws. However, they also benefit from specific measures and derogations from EU law.

Indeed, they stand out from other European regions based on several characteristics:

  • Remoteness from the European continent reinforced by insularity and isolation keeps them, as a matter of fact, from enjoying the EU market’s full benefits
  • The tightness of the local market and economic dependency on a very small amount of products
  • Hard topographic and climate conditions
  • The permanency and aggregation of these characteristics severely hamper economic, social and territorial development.

Thus, ORs exhibit structural specificities that brought Europe to grant them special and differentiated treatment. They benefit from Europe’s cohesion policy, which aims at reducing development gaps among the community area’s various regions.

On the other hand, Europe is also intent on contributing to enhance ORs’ assets and helping materialise their growth opportunities, in view of making them attractive and competitive territories.

As an OR, Guadeloupe receives support from the European Union, mostly via European funds granted to the archipelago to help finance projects in various sectors: training, industry, craft, tourism, technologies, financial engineering, land use planning or environment.

More than 876 million euros in European funds have been allocated to Guadeloupe over the 2007-2013 time period.

For Europe, it is a matter of fostering the community area’s economic, social and territorial cohesion, in view of converting Europe, on the long term, into the most competitive world economy (Lisbon strategy devised in June 2000).

The Guadeloupe Regional Council is the managing authority for European programmes (ERDF, ESF, EAFRD). It aspires to use these funds for developing the territory and increasing its competitiveness and attractiveness.

The European Union's Cohesion Policy

The EU’s 2014-2020 cohesion policy plans to invest a total of 367 billion euros in European cities and regions, as well as in real economy. It constitutes the EU’s main investment tool for reaching Europe 2020 goals (read box).

Find out more about the 2014-2020 cohesion policy

Guadeloupe enjoys the European Union’s (EU) financial support as part of its European cohesion policy, which aims at reducing social and economic development gaps among the Community’s various regions. In particular between continental Europe and outermost regions (Azores, Canary islands, Guadeloupe, French Guyana, Madeira, Martinique, Mayotte, Reunion, Saint-Martin).

This support mostly translated into the various European funds granted to our archipelago over the past twenty years. The EU’s financial support complements national, regional and local aid spread across the Community area’s regions. It aims at supporting projects involving numerous sectors: training, industry, craft, tourism, technologies, financial engineering, environment, land use planning…

Guadeloupe also benefits from a regional cooperation programme called Interreg Caribbean.

The Various European Funds

European funds are mobilised via four operational programmes:

  • The ERDF programme (European Regional Development Fund).
  • The ESF programme (European Social Fund).
  • The EAFRD programme (European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development).
  • The EEF operational programme (European Fisheries Fund).

For the 2007-2013 programming period

The overall budget of European funds (ERDF, ESF, EAFRD and EEF) amounts to about 870 million euros. European funds have supported more than 11 000 actions across the territory, benefiting nearly 1 700 entities.

  • ERDF 2007-2013 operational programme
  • 73% of funds to be devoted to infrastructures (water network, sanitation, ports and airports, tourism).
  • 19% of funds to be devoted to supporting businesses’ competitiveness (development, innovation).
  • Supporting 1560 Guadeloupean businesses.
  • Creating 300 jobs.
  • Equipping 19 waste water treatment plants.
  • Supporting 20 innovative projects in the field of agro-processing.
  • Supporting 30 lodge/hostel construction or enhancement projects.
  • Developing the cruise industry: 160 000 cruise passengers in 2013, versus 90 000 in 2007.
  • ESF 2007-2013 operational programme
  • 30 000 job seekers have benefited from actions aiming at increasing their qualifications and employability (professional certifications and diplomas).
  • 233 private institutions engaged in a teaching and training activity in  2012, versus 195 in 2008.
  • 55 million euros to increase the population’s overall qualification level, versus a 39,4 million euros budget in 2007.

Within the 869 million euros in European funds allocated for the 2007-2013 time period, the Regional Council was put in charge of managing 174, 5 million euros, which corresponds to the budget’s “global subsidy”. This means that the Region was instructed by the European Union to release this aid to beneficiaries, in compliance with national and community regulations.

For the 2007-2013 time period, this management operation concerned:

  • the totality of the aid to firms (ERDF) which amounted to 115,5 million euros;
  • the goals of the ESF operational programme, which was mostly monitored by the Regional council (training programmes, doctoral scholarships, springboard jobs) and amounted to 58,9 million euros.

For the ERDF-ESF 2014-2020 operational programming

The 2014-2020 programme operates within the Europe 2020 strategy, which aims at promoting sustainable, intelligent and inclusive growth. Amounting to a total of 608 million euros, it emphasises the competitiveness of small and mid-sized firms (61,8 M€), broadband access (43 M€), the reduction of seismic hazards (20 M€) and recycling (68 M€).

Some key actions and figures

  • 61,8 million euros to strengthen the competitiveness of small and mid-sized firms.
  • 43 million euros for expanding high speed and very high speed networks.
  • 20 million euros for seismic consolidation at the Baimbridge senior high school.
  • 68 million euros for reinforcing the recycling sector and improving waste management.

The Region, a new managing authority for European funds

Since January 2014, the Guadeloupe Regional Council became the managing authority for European funds. As such, it is in charge of managing and implementing European programmes.

One step further towards decentralisation

The transfer of the managing authority for European funds from the State to regions is a crucial component of a new act of decentralisation. The bill on the modernisation of public territorial action and metropolitan assertion (January 2014) thereby allowed for revising operation modalities between Europe, the State and its regions, notably in terms of European funds management.

Thus, the Guadeloupe Regional Council became the managing authority for European funds in Guadeloupe and, as such, the European Commission’s main interlocutor. During the 2007-2013 programming period, this responsibility was endorsed by the State (Guadeloupe prefecture). Based on its new responsibilities, the Region will see to the regularity of transactions, conforming implementation of evaluations and the dissemination of information towards certification authorities.

How does the region exert its mission as the managing authority for european funds?

Consultation: Economic players, associations, professionals and territorial authorities are included in the devising process of the ERDF-ESF operational programmes. Individuals are also encouraged to share their opinion via a public consultation. The latter aims at collecting observations, proposals and counter-proposals before final adoption of the programmes.

Improvement: Simultaneously, the European Commission shares its observations with the Region regarding programmes. These remarks are taken into account by the Region’s services just like comments made by participants to the public consultation.

Following steps: Simultaneously, the European Commission gives the Region its observations regarding programmes. These remarks are taken into account by the Region’s services just like comments made by participants to the public consultation.

Guadeloupe, one of the European Union’s outermost regions

Guadeloupe is one of the nine Outermost Regions (ORs) of the European Union. Grouped under the Conference of Presidents of the EU’s Outermost regions, these territories carry common lobbying endeavours with the European Commission and Member States. Guadeloupe served as Chair for the Conference of Presidents of the EU’s Outermost regions until January 2015.

What is an outermost region (or) ?

Outermost regions (ORs) are territories that belong to the European Union but are located outside of the European continent. Guadeloupe, French Guyana, Martinique, Mayotte, Reunion and Saint Martin (France), the Canary Islands (Spain), as well as Azores and Madeira (Portugal) enjoy this status. Recognised for the first time in a Maastricht Treaty appendix in 1992, ORs were defined in 2009 by articles 349 and 355 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. As such, they benefit from specific measures and derogations from community law, based on their specificities.

The concept of outermost regions is based on both geographical and socio-economical criteria:

  • insularity (or isolation in the case of French Guyana) ;
  • hard climate and topographic conditions;
  • narrowness of the territory.


Cooperation among outermost regions

Outermost regions share a number of assets and handicaps that brought them together over the years.

1988 – Presidents of ORs meet for the first time in Madeira, then asserting a joint desire to achieve from the European Commission and their Metropolitan States, recognition for their territories’ specific situations.

1992 – The European Union acknowledges the specificities of those territories and grants them the outermost region status.

1993 – In the Saint-Malo declaration, Presidents of the ORs sign a cooperation protocol in order to: 

  • promote and develop interregional actions;
  • adopt common positions and pressure the EU into embracing interventions adapted to their reality, so as to pursue adequate economic development efforts;
  • establish technical and political connections with other European regions, as well as international organisations and nations of their respective geographical areas;
  • cooperate with the various administrations, public institutions, socio-economic bodies and firms.

1995 – First Conference of Presidents of the EU’s Outermost regions under the banner of “Our differences are similar and bring us together”.

Since then, Presidents of the ORs gather each year, in view of better comprehending their territories, asserting their common interests and difficulties within Europe, and ensure equal treatment of the ORs with respect to other regions of the Community area.

Guadeloupe, president of the conference of presidents of the eu's outermost regions in 2014

Since October 18th, 2013, the Guadeloupe Regional Council served as Chair of the Conference of Presidents of the EU’s Outermost regions. As such, it saw to defending ORs’ interests, notably by partaking in the various public consultations launched by the European Commission.

Highlights of its chairmanship include:
  • March 2014: contribution to the Conference on the theme of State aids in the agricultural and forestry sectors, as well as in rural areas.
  • June 2014: task forces complete their follow-up work regarding the ORs’ action plan in partnership with the European Commission and Member States.
  • September 2014: 3rd edition of the Outermost regions forum in Brussels. Creation of the OR Job network.
  • October 2014: the international conference on biodiversity on islands is held in Guadeloupe.
  • January 2015: the 20th Conference of Presidents of the EU’s Outermost regions is held in Guadeloupe.