The territorial continuity is a principle of public service which has the objective of strengthening cohesion between different areas of the same State, compensating handicaps linked to their remoteness, a remoteness or difficult to access.
The outermost regions of the European Union and the overseas countries and territories of the Member States of the European Union may benefit from these provisions.
In practice, this principle translates into a system of aid or facilities provided by the State to the citizens or regional entities concerned.
In the European Union
The reinforcement of cohesion on the European continent is at the base of the process of European construction. This very general principle is mentioned in Article of the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community:
A high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment, raising the level and quality of life, economic and social cohesion and solidarity between Member States.
Aid measures for air transport are provided for in Council Regulation 2408/92 of the Council of the European Communities, which deals with public service obligations:
he was to consider only his own commercial interest. The Commission publishes these public service obligations in the Official Journal of the European Communities.
The European Union essentially provides the legal framework in which Member States can grant territorial continuity aid to the outermost regions. European aid contributing to territorial continuity between the overseas countries and territories (which are not members of the European Union but whose status was provided for by the 1957 Treaty of Rome) and the Member States whose they depend, can be attributed under the European Development Fund.
Portugal has a system of aid for residents of the autonomous regions of the Azores and Madeira, since1 st January 1999. The aid was, until December 2007, based on a capped percentage rate. The only companies that made this route were the public companies TAP Portugal and SATA Air Açores. In parallel with the liberalization of the air transport market on the Madeira-Lisbon route, the applicable aid has been reduced to a fixed reimbursement of around EUR 60 for a return trip to Madeira-Lisbon, paid after completion of the journey.
Portuguese law explicitly provides for the compensation of «regional asymmetries» in order to allow the participation of clubs and athletes from the two Portuguese Autonomous Regions.
Provision of territorial continuity
Extending this measure was requested in 2002 by residents of overseas departments. This expansion was carried out by law program for Overseas n o 2003-660 of July 21, 2003. The latter provides for a public allocation distributed among overseas communities. Each overseas community chooses the award criteria and the amount of assistance allocated to its citizens.
In the case of French Polynesia, the General Code of Territorial Collectivities provides, by order of 5 October 2007, that «territorial continuity between municipalities belonging to the same community of communes is assessed without taking into account the maritime area. that exists between them. «(An identical provision is provided for municipalities in the same agglomeration community).
The allocation for each community is calculated according to the distance of its population, the observed air traffic and a correction coefficient determined by the accessibility of the airport and air service. This coefficient is 1 for Réunion and Martinique, 1.2 for Guadeloupe, 1.5 for Mayotte and 1.8 for other communities.
The «mobility passport» is an aid measure put in place in the summer of 2002 and formalized by decree taken in 2004. It is intended for residents of an overseas community wishing to travel to a home city or other overseas community for study or work. It relates to:
students up to 26 years old who wish to continue their studies in mainland France or in another overseas collectivity because of the nonexistence of the desired section in their place of residence, or its saturation. In this case, the State pays for a return trip per school year.
young people up to 30 years of age who are required to take the oral tests for admission to certain higher education competitions. The state pays for the return trip.