France Passes Law Targeting Cost of Living in Overseas Departments


Above: Fort de France, Martinique

By the Caribbean Journal staff

France has passed a new law relating to economic regulation in its overseas departments.

The law, which was passed unanimously (although the UMP in the Assembly abstained in what was dubbed “constructive opposition”) was adopted by Parliament last Thursday and published Wednesday in the Official Journal.

It seeks to address the structural basis of the cost of living in France’s overseas departments like Martinique and Guadeloupe, where prices can be between 30 percent and 50 percent higher than in mainland France.

According to the government, unemployment can be two to three times higher than in mainland France, and up to 60 percent among young people.

The plan involves several measures: to fix prices of a basket of consumer goods, to strengthen the powers of the Competition Authority to order structural cap bank charges and others moves.

Voters in the overseas territories were a key part of French President Francois Holllande’s victory earlier this year.