How do people live in Polynesia
Border region: From Europe to the end of the world
Rapa Iti is the southernmost inhabitable island of French Polynesia, which belongs to the EU as a French overseas department. About 400 people live on the island, including many children. They hunt goats up the mountain slopes, play in the taro fields, help bake bread, eat mangu flowers or swim in the bay.
French Polynesia has many advantages through EU membership, such as financial support of 30 million euros for the period from 2014 to 2020. The population is also entitled to participate in EU initiatives such as the Erasmus Plus program. This is so popular that exchange programs are being developed with the Polytechnic University of Valencia in Spain, the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland and the University of Newcastle in England.
Overseas territories with special ties to the EU
However, French Polynesia is not the only region outside Europe with close ties to the EU. The so-called "outermost regions" such as the Canary Islands or French Guiana are an integral part of the Union.
There are also overseas countries and territories such as the Falkland Islands and Aruba that have special relations with an EU member state. That is why they can conclude association agreements with the EU and benefit from the freedom to travel and freedom of residence. They are only subject to European legislation in the areas of association agreements that have been concluded. Some of them like Saint Barthélemy Island are even part of the euro zone.
Back in the café of the French Polynesian University in Tahiti, you catch a glimpse of the setting sun over Moorea Island. Some birds of paradise circle over the 15 hectare campus and its palm trees.
EU: United in diversity
Among the visitors is a 22-year-old student with a wreath of flowers in her hair. She is on her way home after a ten-month Erasmus stay to study international law.
"It's strange, but strangers are always somehow similar. They live in different parts of the world and speak different languages and yet they are similar," says the young student from Europe.
This corresponds to the motto of the EU: United in diversity. The EU connects states, cultures, languages and religions. It is a Union whose wealth also grows from diversity.
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