In a statement, the European Commission reported 15 December 2015, to have adopted the new cross-border cooperation program covering the whole island of St. Martin in the Caribbean. "The total budget of the program for the period 2014-2020 reaches 12 million, including 10 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)," the commission said.
Corina Creţu, Commissioner for Regional Policy, commented: The island of Saint-Martin is an exceptional territory, as much by its multicultural character as by its natural richness and its splendid landscapes. This program will foster greater cooperation between communities on the island, which will work together to preserve and promote its natural heritage."
As stated in the European Commission communiqué, the program has two priority axes:
Protect the environment and improve water and sanitation infrastructure, including the construction of a transboundary wastewater treatment plant. The program also plans to protect the biodiversity and ecosystems of the Simpson Bay lagoon.
Prevent flooding, particularly in the Belle-Plaine border area, through better management and regulation of stormwater.
Among the expected results of these investments:
Construction of a sewage treatment plant in Cole Bay that will benefit about 15.000 inhabitants.
The revitalization of more than 800 hectares of the lagoon of Simpson Bay.
A reduction of 50% of the population at risk of flooding.
This program should also mobilize the European Development Fund (EDF) for the construction of the cross-border processing plant on the Dutch side of the island.
The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) aims to strengthen economic and social cohesion in the European Union by reducing imbalances between its regions. Coordination between the INTERREG program and the development programs financed by the EDF in the area will be sought in order to set up cooperation projects financed jointly by the EDF and the ERDF.