Rédigé le 16/08/2023
Jujue LV

The government unveils 72 measures for "a better life"

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has announced measures aimed at improving daily life in the overseas territories, particularly by enhancing the purchasing power of residents.

A key action will be a major reform of "octroi de mer," a tariff system for imported products in these regions. Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire emphasized its role in high prices in overseas regions and committed to finalizing this reform by 2027. The primary goal is to reduce costs for these regions while monitoring the impact on local finances and local production.

Much Higher Prices Than in Mainland France, Especially for Food Products

A recent study by INSEE (the French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies) shows that the cost of living is significantly higher in the overseas territories than on the mainland of France. In 2022, prices were between 9% and 16% higher in the overseas territories compared to metropolitan France. This difference is primarily due to the high prices of goods, especially food products, which cost 30% to 42% more for households in the overseas territories. Services are also more expensive, particularly communication. While the price increases are slower than in France, it primarily impacts those with lower incomes. To address this, the government has introduced the "BQP+" (Quality Price Shield), allowing local authorities to negotiate with manufacturers to keep essential product prices affordable.

Funding Water and Sanitation Networks

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has announced an investment of 2.3 billion euros over four years (2024-2027) to improve public infrastructure such as water and sanitation networks, transportation, and schools. This initiative aims to address water access issues in some overseas regions where the networks are outdated. In addition, a 150-million-euro program over four years will be established to support people with disabilities in terms of care and assistance.

Aid to Promote Territorial Continuity

The government will increase scholarships for students from overseas territories by 30 euros per month. More people from the overseas regions will be eligible for airfare discounts to facilitate travel. The Overseas Mobility Agency (LADOM) assisted over 60,000 individuals from the overseas territories in traveling in 2022 through these measures. Additional changes are planned to expand these benefits, according to decisions made by the Interministerial Committee for Overseas (CIOM).

Overseas Elected Officials Skeptical Some overseas personalities are cautiously welcoming the new measures announced, notably Senator Victorin Lurel of Guadeloupe, who hopes to improve them through parliamentary work. Deputy Olivier Serva of Guadeloupe sees it as an attempt to consult beyond local leaders. Others, like Deputy Philippe Naillet of Reunion, regret that these measures do not meet expectations in terms of reducing inequalities and social disparities. It's noted that sensitive issues such as institutions, immigration, and security were not discussed during this meeting.