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Collective grouping of all French-administered territories and collectivities outside Europe
Overseas regions have exactly the same status as mainland France's regions. The French Constitution provides that, in general, French laws and regulations (France's civil code, penal code, administrative law, social laws, tax laws, etc.) apply to French overseas regions the same as in metropolitan France, but can be adapted as needed to suit the region's particular needs. Hence, the local administrations of French overseas regions cannot themselves pass new laws.
In contrast, the overseas collectivities are empowered to make their own laws, except in certain areas reserved to the French national government (such as defense, international relations, trade and currency, and judicial and administrative law). The overseas collectivities are governed by local elected assemblies and by the French Parliament and French Government, with a cabinet member, the Minister of the Overseas, in charge of issues related to the overseas territories.
New Caledonia is neither an overseas region nor an overseas collectivity; it has a sui generis status enshrined in the French Constitution, in keeping with the Nouméa Accord.
The category of "overseas collectivity" (French: collectivité d'outre-mer or COM) was created by France's constitutional reform of March 28, 2003. Each overseas collectivity has its own statutory laws.
Saint Pierre and Miquelon (1976-85: overseas department, 1985-2003: sui generis overseas territory, since 2003: overseas collectivity). Despite being given the political status of "overseas collectivity," Saint Pierre et Miquelon is called collectivité territoriale de Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, literally "territorial collectivity."
Wallis and Futuna (1961-2003: overseas territory, since 2003: overseas collectivity). It is still commonly referred to as a territoire (Territoire des îles Wallis et Futuna).
New Caledonia was classified as an overseas territory beginning in 1946, but as a result of the 1998 Nouméa Accord, it gained a special status (statut particulier or statut original) in 1999. A New Caledonian citizenship was established (in addition to the French citizenship which is kept in parallel, along with the consequent European citizenship), and a gradual transfer of power from the French state to New Caledonia itself was begun, to last from 15 to 20 years.
Clipperton Island (French: Île de Clipperton or Île de la Passion, Spanish: Isla de la Pasión) is a 9 km2 (3.5 sq mi) coral atoll located 1,280 km (800 miles) south-west of Acapulco, Mexico, in the Pacific Ocean. It is held as an overseas state private property under the direct authority of the French government, and is administered by France's Overseas Minister.
With 2,790,000 inhabitants in 2018, Overseas France accounts for 4.1% of the population of the French Republic. They enjoy a corresponding representation in the two chambers of the French Parliament.
^Article 2 of the French Constitution states that the French Flag is the only legal flag of France. Only French Polynesia, an overseas country, and New Caledonia, a special collectivity are allowed to have their official flags. This right was granted to French Polynesia by a 6 September 1984, law and to New Caledonia by the Nouméa Accord. The Administrator of French Antarctica is also granted his own flag through a 23 February 2007 ordinance. Historical flags are sometimes used but have no basis in law. Many territories use unofficial flags to represent the territories. The unofficial flags are shown in this table.
Uninhabited overseas territories
(Lands generally uninhabited, except by researchers in scientific stations)
^Land area of the four old overseas departments (), Mayotte, the overseas collectivities, and New Caledonia (page 21), the French Southern and Antarctic Lands and the Scattered Islands (), and Clipperton ().
^"French Caribbean voters reject change". Caribbean Net News. December 9, 2003. Archived from the original on March 18, 2009. Retrieved 2007. However, voters in the two tiny French dependencies of Saint-Barthélemy and Saint-Martin, which have been administratively attached to Guadeloupe, approved the referendum and are set to acquire the new status of "overseas collectivity".
^"Nouvelle-Calédonie", Le Petit Larousse (2010), Paris, page 1559.
^The population of all five overseas departments totaled 2,169,000
 in January 2018. The population of the overseas collectivities amounted to 621,000 inhabitants (Saint-Pierre and Miquelon , Saint-Barthélemy , Saint-Martin , French Polynesia , Wallis et Futuna , New Caledonia ). The total population of the overseas departments and territories of France is estimated at 2,790,000.