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 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.
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.
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.
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?
|4||New Caledonia||Overseas collectivity||268,767|
|5||French Polynesia||Overseas collectivity||268,270|
|6||French Guiana||Overseas region||83,534|
|8||Saint Martin||Overseas collectivity||36,286|
|9||Wallis and Futuna||Overseas collectivity||12,197|
|10||Saint Barthélemy||Overseas collectivity||9,035|
|11||Saint Pierre and Miquelon||Overseas collectivity||6,080|
|13||French Southern and Antarctic Lands||Overseas territory||0|