Région d’outre-mer

Overseas region (Région d’outre-mer) is a recent designation given to the overseas departments that have identical powers to those of the regions of metropolitan France.
The overseas regions should not be confused with the overseas collectivities which have a particular status. As integral parts of the French Republic, they are represented in the National Assembly, Senate and Economic and Social Council, elect a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), and use the euro as their currency.

Although these territories have had these political powers since 1982, when France’s decentralisation policy dictated that they be given elected regional councils along with other regional powers, the designation overseas regions dates only to the 2003 constitutional change; indeed, the new wording of the constitution aims to give no precedence to either appellation overseas department or overseas region, although the second is still virtually unused by French media.

The following have overseas region status:

  • French Guiana in South America
  • Guadeloupe in the Caribbean (Americas)
  • Martinique in the Caribbean (Americas)
  • Mayotte in the Indian Ocean (Africa)
  • Réunion in the Indian Ocean (Africa)
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon was once an overseas department but were demoted to a territorial collectivity in 1985, before the French regions were created.