Politics

Which Overseas Territories Are Administered by France?

Overseas France, or d'outre-mer in French, refers to territories that are administered by France but geographically fall outside of European territory.

Overseas France refers to territories that politically belong in France that are geographically outside of Europe. These territories have different legal status and are all represented in the French Parliament except those territories that do not have permanent inhabitants. Citizens from the overseas territories have French nationality and have a right to vote for the president of France as well as in the European Parliament under Overseas constituency. Islands from Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans, French Guiana on the South American continent and some peri-antarctic islands are some of the French overseas territories. The exclusive economic zone of overseas France covers an area of 9,821,231 km square.

These overseas territories are either overseas regions or overseas collective depending on the constitutional status as analyzed below.

Difference between overseas region, overseas collective, and special status.

Overseas Regions

Overseas regions refer to areas that have powers equal to those held by parts of the metropolitan France in that they have representation in the French Parliament in the ESC, they elect a member of the European Parliament, and their primary currency is euro. The territories that use the overseas region status include French Guiana found in South America, Mayotte an island in the Indian Ocean, Guadeloupe in the Caribbean, Martinique in the Caribbean, and Reunion in the Indian Ocean.

Overseas Collective

The French overseas collectivities are a first-order administrative division of France known as COM. Since they are integral to France COMs, they have representation in the National Assembly, Senate, and also the Economic and Social Council. They are however not part of the European Union hence do not choose the member of the European Parliament except for Saint Martin. The currency is also different as the COMs from the Pacific use CFP franc whereas those from the Atlantic use the euro. The constitutional reforms of 2003 identified the following territories as COMs; French Polynesia is an overseas country found in the French Republic and has its president and its legislature. Saint Barthelemy is an island in the Caribbean Sea is a COM that has an executive and a territorial council, and since its separation in 2007, it is not part of the European Union. Saint Martin is an island that was separated from Guadeloupe overseas department in 2007 and has a territorial and executive councils. Saint Martin is the only COM that is a part of the European Union. Saint Pierre and Miquelon are islands found in the Atlantic and have a territorial council. Wallis and Futuna Islands of the Pacific have a territorial assembly and a high administrator.

Special Status

Some territories have a special status in that they are neither overseas regions nor overseas collectivities. These areas include the New Caledonia recently established as a new state has New Caledonian citizenship, French citizenship, and the European citizenship. The French government holds Clipperton Islands as its private property administered by the Overseas Minister of France.

Conclusion

These overseas territories have enabled France to be in a significant control of more maritime resources hence boosting its economic status. The overseas France accounts for 96.7% the republic’s economic exclusive zone. These territories have also increased the French population as in 2013 census shows that there were 2,691,000 France overseas inhabitants.

Which Overseas Territories Are Administered by France?

RankRegion NameTypePopulation
1Réunion Overseas region840,974
2GuadeloupeOverseas region405,739
3MartiniqueOverseas region386,486
4New CaledoniaOverseas collectivity268,767
5French PolynesiaOverseas collectivity268,270
6French GuianaOverseas region83,534
7MayotteOverseas region226,915
8Saint MartinOverseas collectivity36,286
9Wallis and FutunaOverseas collectivity12,197
10Saint BarthélemyOverseas collectivity9,035
11Saint Pierre and MiquelonOverseas collectivity6,080
12ClippertonSpecial status0
13French Southern and Antarctic LandsOverseas territory0

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