Several European Union Member States have special territories which, for historical, geographical, or political reasons, enjoy special status within or outside the European Union. These statuses range from no or limited derogation from EU policies, to limited inclusion in EU policies, to none at all. Most of the territories which are outside the EU nonetheless have a special relationship with the EU.

Outermost regions (OMR): The outermost regions (OMR) are geographic areas which are part of a European Union Member State, are situated outside of Europe and are fully part of the EU. Both primary and secondary European Union law applies automatically to these territories, with possible derogations to take account of their "structural social and economic situation ... which is compounded by their remoteness, insularity, small size, difficult topography and climate, economic dependence on a few products, the permanence and combination of which severely restrain their development. As of April 2014, a total of nine territories (six French, two Portuguese and one Spanish) were registered to have OMR status.

Azores and Madeira : Azores and Madeira are two groups of Portuguese islands in the Atlantic. Their territory is an integral part of the Portuguese Republic, but both the Azores and Madeira have the special status of Autonomous Regions within the otherwise unitary Portuguese State. While derogations from the application of EU law could apply, none do. Their VAT is lower than the rest of Portugal, but they are not outside the European Union Value Added Tax Area.

Canary Islands: The Canary Islands and are a Spanish archipelago off the African coast which forms one of the Spanish Autonomous Communities, thus having the status of being part of Spanish territory. They are outside the European Union Value Added Tax Area. The Canary Islands are the most populated and economically strongest territory of all the outermost regions in the European Union.

French overseas departments: French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte and Réunion are five French overseas departments which under French law are, for the most part, treated as integral parts of the Republic. Each also forms a French overseas region. The euro is legal tender and they are part of the European Union Customs Union. However they are outside the Schengen area and the VAT area. Mayotte is the newest of the five overseas departments having changed from an overseas collectivity, with OCT status, on 31 March 2011. It became an outermost region and thus part of the EU on 1 January 2014.

Saint Martin: The legal status of the island was clarified by the Lisbon Treaty which lists it as an outermost region.

Overseas countries and territories (OCT): The overseas countries and territories (OCT) are dependent territories that have a special relationship with one of the Member States of the EU, and have been explicitly invited by the EU treaty to join the EU-OCT Association (OCTA). They are not subject to the EU's common external customs tariffs but may claim customs on goods imported from the EU on a non-discriminatory basis. They are not part of the EU and the EU acquis does not apply to them, though those joining OCTA are required to respect the detailed rules and procedures outlined by this association agreement (Council Decision 2013/755/EU). OCTA members are entitled to ask for EU financial support. As of July 2014, there are still 25 OCTs (twelve with the United Kingdom, six with France, six with the Netherlands and one with Denmark) of which 22 have joined OCTA. The three OCTs which are not part of OCTA (British Antartic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory and South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands are all uninhabited).

British overseas territories: Twelve overseas territories of the United Kingdom (all but Gibraltar, which, unlike the other territories, is part of the European Union), and the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia on Cyprus), namely: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Antartic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands, Saint Helena, Ascencion and Tristan da Cunha, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands. As of July 2014, it is only the three remote areas without any permanent population (British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory and "South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands"), that are not members of OCTA.

French overseas territories: A total of six French dependent territories currently have OCT status within EU. The French Southern and Antartic Lands (which include the French Scattered Islands in the Indian Ocean) is a French Overseas Territory but has no permanent population. Both have sui generis statuses within France. Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, Saint Barthélemy, French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna are overseas collectivities (formerly referred to as overseas territories) of France, while New Caledonia is a "sui generis collectivity". Saint Barthélemy and Saint-Pierre and Miquelon are part of the Eurozone, while New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna use the CFP Franc , a currency which is tied to the euro and guaranteed by France. Natives of the collectivities are European citizens owing to their French citizenship and elections to the European Parliament are held in the collectivities. On 22 February 2007, Saint Barthélemy was separated from the French overseas department of Guadeloupe to form a new overseas collectivity. Its legal status was clarified by the Lisbon Treaty which listed it as an outermost region. However, Saint Barthélemy ceased being an outermost region and left the EU, to become an OCT, on 1 January 2012. The change was made to facilitate trade with countries outside the EU, notably the United States, and was made possible by a provision of the Lisbon Treaty which allows the European Council to change the EU status of a Danish, Dutch, or French territory on the initiative of the Member State concerned.

Dutch overseas territories: Six territories of the Netherlands  all of which are Caribbean islands have OCT status. The inhabitants of the islands are EU citizens owing to their Dutch citizenship, but few of them had, until recently, the right to vote in elections to the European Parliament. Their exclusion from the franchise was ruled to be contrary to EU law by the European Court of Justice as Dutch citizens resident outside the EU, other than those resident in the six islands, did have the right to vote. Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten are classified as "countries" under Dutch law and have considerable internal autonomy. In June 2008, the Dutch government published a report on the effect on the islands were they to join the EU as outermost regions. It concluded that it would be for the islands themselves to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of becoming part of the EU as outermost regions and that nothing would be done absent the islands specifically requesting it. Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (collectively called Caribbean Netherlands)) are "special municipalities" of the Netherlands proper. In June 2008, the Dutch government published a report on the effect on the islands were they to join the EU as outermost regions. Their status as OCTs will be reviewed in 2015 when, as part of the planned review of the Dutch law concerning their legal status, they may become part of the EU as outermost regions.

Greenland: Greenland joined the then European Community in 1973 along with Denmark, but voted to leave the EC in 1982 and left in 1985, to become an OCT. Greenlanders are, nonetheless, European citizens owing to their Danish citizenship. The EU-Greenland relationship is a comprehensive partnership, which is complementary to the OCT association arrangements under "Council Decision 2013/755/EU"; based specifically on "Council Decision 2014/137 of 14 March 2014" (outlining the relations) and the Fisheries Partnership Agreement of 30 July 2006.

Special cases: While the outermost regions and the overseas countries and territories fall into structured categories to which common mechanisms apply, this is not true of all the special territories. Some territories enjoy ad-hoc arrangements in their relationship with the EU. Some of these could be called "protocol territories" as their status is governed by protocols attached to their respective countries' accession treaties. The rest owe their status to European Union legislative provisions which exclude the territories from the application of the legislation concerned. Many were opted out from either the VAT area or the customs union or both. Areas that are part of the EU: Åland, Büsinger am Hochrhein, Campione d’Italia, Livigno, Ceuta, Melilla, UN Buffer Zone Cyprus, Gibraltar, Helgoland, Mount Athos. Areas that are not part of the EU: Akrotiri and Dhekelia, Faroe Islands, Jersey, Guernsey.

Åland Islands:Åland a group of islands belonging to Finland, but with partial autonomy, located between Sweden and Finland, with a Swedish-speaking population, joined the EU along with Finland in 1995. EU law, including the fundamental four freedoms, applies to Åland. However there are some derogations due to the islands' special status. Åland is outside the VAT area and is exempt from common rules in relation to turnover taxes, excise duties and indirect taxation.In addition, to protect the local economy, the treaty of accession allows for a concept of hembygdsrätt/kotiseutuoikeus (regional citizenship). Consequently there are restrictions on the holding of property and real estate, the right of establishment for business purposes and limitations on who can provide services in Åland, for people not holding this status. The status may be obtained by anyone legally resident in Åland for 5 years that can demonstrate an adequate knowledge of the Swedish language.

Büsingen am Hochrhein: The German exclave town of Büsingen am Hochrhein, fully surrounded by Switzerland, is in customs union with the latter non-EU country. The euro is legal tender, although the Swiss Franc is preferred. Büsingen is excluded from the EU customs union and VAT area. Swiss VAT and sales taxes are paid.

Campione d'Italia and Livigno: The Italian exclave village of Campione d’Italia is totally surrounded by Switzerland’s Ticino canton as well as Lake Lugano (or Ceresio), and is a comune in the Province of Como, whilst Livigno, a small and remote mountain resort town, is a comune in the Province of Sondrio. Both comuni are part of the Lombardy region. Although part of the EU, they are excluded from the customs union and VAT area, with Livigno's tax status dating back to Napoleonic times. Moreover, the only legal tender in Campione d'Italia is the Swiss Franc although in practice shops and restaurants accept payments also in euro - and their bills present dual price display in both Euros and Francs.

Ceuta and Melilla: Ceuta and Melilla are two Spanish cities on the North African coast. They are part of the EU but they are excluded from the common agricultural and fisheries policies. They are also outside the customs union and VAT area, but no customs are levied on goods exported from the Union into either Ceuta and Melilla, and certain goods originating in Ceuta and Melilla are exempt from customs charges. While nominally part of the Schengen Area, Spain performs identity checks on all sea and air passengers leaving the enclaves for elsewhere in the Schengen Area.

Channel Islands: Jersey and Guernsey are Crown dependencies. The islands take part in the EU freedom of movement of goods but not people, services or capital. The Channel Islands are outside the VAT area (and have no VAT), however inside the customs union. Channel Islanders are British citizens and hence European citizens. However, they are not entitled to participate in the freedom of movement of people or services unless they are directly connected (through birth, or descent from a parent or grandparent) with the United Kingdom. However, after five years continuous residence in the United Kingdom, islanders are entitled to participate in the freedom of movement of people or services throughout the EU.

Isle of Man: The Isle of Man is a Crown dependency. The island takes part in the EU freedom of movement of goods but not people, services or capital. The Isle of Man is inside the VAT area and the customs union. Many people are British citizens and hence European citizens. However, they are not entitled to participate in the freedom of movement of people or services unless they are directly connected (through birth, or descent from a parent or grandparent) with the United Kingdom. However, after five years continuous residence in the United Kingdom, many people are entitled to participate in the freedom of movement of people or services throughout the EU.

Cyprus: EU law only applies fully to the part of the island that is effectively controlled by the government of the Republic of Cyprus. EU law is suspended in the northern third of the island (the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus), whose independence is recognised only by Turkey). Cyprus nationality law applies to the entire island and is accordingly available to the inhabitants of Northern Cyprus and the British sovereign base areas on the same basis as to those born in the area controlled by the Republic of Cyprus. Citizens of the Republic of Cyprus living in Northern Cyprus are EU citizens and are entitled to vote in elections to the European Parliament; however, elections to that Parliament are not organised in Northern Cyprus.

United Kingdom sovereign bases: The United Kingdom has two sovereign bases on Cyprus, namely Akrotiri and Dhekelia. Prior to Cypriot accession to the EU in 2004, EU law did not apply to the sovereign bases. This position was changed by the Cypriot accession treaty and EU law, while still not applying in principle, applies to the extent necessary to implement a protocol attached to that treaty. This protocol applies EU law relating to the Common Agricultural Policy, , customs, indirect taxation, social policy and justice and home affairs to the sovereign base areas. The sovereign base authorities have also made provision for the unilateral application of directly applicable EU law. The UK also agreed in the Protocol to keep enough control of the external (i.e. off-island and northern Cyprus) borders of the sovereign bases to ensure that the border between the sovereign bases and the Republic of Cyprus can remain fully open and will not have to be policed as an external EU border. Consequently the sovereign bases will become a  de facto part of the Schengen Area if and when Cyprus implements it. The bases are already de facto members of the eurozone. The sovereign bases have never been entitled to British citizenship or to the European Union citizenship that would go with it. Just under half of the population of the sovereign base areas are Cypriots, the rest are British military personnel, support staff and their dependants.

United Nations buffer zone: The United Nations buffer zone between north and south Cyprus ranges in width from a few metres in central Nicosia to several kilometres in the countryside. While it is nominally under the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus, it is effectively administered by the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). The population of the zone is about 9,000, and one of the mandates of UNFICYP is "to encourage the fullest possible resumption of normal civilian activity in the buffer zone". Article 2.1 of the Cyprus Protocol allows the European Council to determine to what extent the provisions of EU law apply in the buffer zone.

Faroe Islands: The Faroe Islands are not part of the EU, and they have not been part of the EU since Denmark joined the union in 1973. Danish citizens residing on the islands, who hold Faroese-Danish passports are not considered as citizens of a Member State within the meaning of the treaties or, consequently, citizens of the European Union. However, Faroese may become EU citizens by changing their residence to the Danish mainland. The Faroe Islands are not part of the Schengen Area, and Schengen visas are not valid. However, the islands are part of the Nordic Passport Union. This means that there is an identity check upon arrival on the islands where Nordic citizens on intra-Nordic travel need no passport, only showing the ticket plus identity card.

Gibraltar: Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located near the southernmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula and overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar, sharing a border with Spain to the north. Although it is part of the EU, Gibraltar is outside the customs union and VAT area and is exempted from the Common Agricultural Policy; it does not form part of the Schengen Area. As a separate jurisdiction to the UK, Gibraltar's government and parliament are responsible for the transposition of EU law into local law. There is no option for Gibraltar to cancel their EU membership separately from the UK, as it is bound to the same destiny as the UK chooses.Despite their status as EU citizens resident in the EU, elections to the European Parliament were not held in Gibraltar until 2004.Like the UK, Gibraltar does not form part of the Schengen Area and, as a result, the border between Spain and Gibraltar is an external Schengen border through which Spain is legally obliged to perform full entrance and exit controls. However Gibraltar does participate in certain police and judicial cooperation aspects of the Schengen acquis in line with the UK's request to participate in the same measures.

Heligoland: Heligoland is an island of Germany situated 70 km (43 mi) off the German north-western coast. It is part of the EU, but is excluded from the customs union and the VAT area.

Mount Athos: Mount Athos is an autonomous monastic region of Greece. It is part of the customs union but outside the VAT area. Notwithstanding that a special permit is required to enter the peninsula and that there is a prohibition on the admittance of women, it is part of the Schengen Area

Areas of extraterritoriality

Saimaa Canal: Finland leases the 19.6 km long Russian part of the Saimaa Canal from Russia and granted extraterritoriality rights. The area is not part of the EU, it is a special part of Russia. Under the treaty signed by Finnish and Russian governments, Russian law is in force with a few exceptions concerning maritime rules and the employment of canal staff which fall under Finnish jurisdiction. There are also special rules concerning vessels travelling to Finland via the canal. Russian visas are not required for just passing through the canal, but a passport is needed and it is checked at the border. Euros are accepted for the canal fees.

Värska–Ulitina road: The road from Värska to Ulitina in Estonia, traditionally the only road to the Ulitina area, goes through Russian territory for one kilometre (0.6 mi) of its length, an area called Saatse Boot. This road has no border control, but there is no connection to any other road in Russia. It is not permitted to stop or walk along the road. This area is a part of Russia but is also a de facto part of the Schengen area.

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