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Political / Social
The French Overseas Departments and Territories (French: départements et territoires d'outre-mer, colloquially referred to as the DOM-TOM ) consist of all the French-administered territories outside of the European continent. These territories have varying legal status and different levels of autonomy, although all (except those with no permanent inhabitants) have representation in the Parliament of France, and consequently the right to vote in elections to the European Parliament. The French Overseas Departments and Territories include island territories in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans, French Guiana on the South American continent, and several periantarctic islands as well as a claim in Antarctica.
2,691,000 people lived in the French Overseas Departments and Territories in January 2013. With a combined land area of 119,394 km² (46,098 sq. miles) and an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of 9,821,231 km² (3,791,998 sq. miles), the French Overseas Departments and Territories (excluding Adélie Land in Antarctica where sovereignty is suspended since the signing of the Antarctic Treaty in 1959) account for 17.8% of the land territory and 96.7% of the EEZ of the French Republic.
From a legal and administrative standpoint, departments are very different from territories. The French constitution provides that, in general, French laws and regulations (France's civil code, penal code, administrative law, social laws, tax laws, etc.) apply to French departments the same as in mainland France, but can be adapted as needed to suit the departments' particular needs. In French territories, the reverse is true (laws can't be adapted). Under France's so-called "autonomy statutes", the departments are empowered to make their own laws, except in certain areas (such as defense, international relations, trade and currency, and judicial and administrative law), where the territories are bound by the laws promulgated by the French government and by those France appoints to oversee the territories.
Each inhabited French territory, metropolitan or overseas, is represented in both the French National Assembly and the French Senate (which together make up the French Parliament). The overseas departments and territories are governed by local elected assemblies and by the French Parliament and French Government (where a cabinet member, the Minister of Overseas France, is in charge of issues related to the overseas departments and territories).
The category of "overseas collectivity" was created by France's constitutional reform of March 28, 2003. Each overseas collectivity has its own statutory laws.
The status of overseas country (French: Pays d'outre-mer), projected for French Pacific dependencies, was finally never created. The 2004 status of French Polynesia gives it this designation but also reflects that it belongs to the category of overseas collectivities. The Constitutional Council of France confirmed that the designation of overseas country had no legal consequences. Since New Caledonia's status has no name, and since its parliament can make local laws, it is sometimes incorrectly termed an overseas country.
With 2,691,000 inhabitants in 2013, the French overseas departments and territories account for 4.1% of the population of the French Republic. They enjoy a corresponding representation in the two chambers of the French Parliament.
In the 13th Legislature (2012-2017), the French overseas departments and territories are represented by 27 députés (M.P.s) in the French National Assembly, accounting for 4.7% of the 577 députés in the National Assembly:
Since September 2011, the French overseas departments and territories are represented by 21 senators in the French Senate, accounting for 6.0% of the 343 senators in the Senate:
(Lands generally uninhabited, except by researchers in scientific stations)
(incl. overseas regions)
(incl. overseas departments)
Syndicates of New Agglomeration
Sui generis collectivity
Ranked by population in the urban area:
However, voters in the two tiny French dependencies of Saint-Barthélemy and Saint-Martin, which have been administratively attached to Guadeloupe, approved the referendum and are set to acquire the new status of "overseas collectivity".
On February 7 of this year, the French Parliament adopted the law granting Saint-Barthélemy the Statute of an Overseas Collectivity.
Réunion, France, French Guiana, Martinique, Saint Barthélemy
France, Suriname, Guadeloupe, Réunion, European Union
British overseas territories, France, Portugal, States and territories of Australia, Insular area
France, Africa, Réunion, Administrative division, Administrative divisions of France
France, New Caledonia, Administrative divisions of France, Regions of France, Overseas departments and territories of France