PAPE‘ETE, French Polynesia (Tahitipresse, Jan. 14) - French overseas minister Brigitte Girardin has listed tax exemptions, greater autonomy, and creation of more jobs in French Polynesia as her top priorities for 2003.

At a meeting with the press in Paris, Girardin said that no institutional change for the French overseas territories will occur "without the will of the people directly affected by these changes."

She said each overseas territory will be free to go through different stages of evolution at its own pace.

"The French government will not impose anything," she said. "We will just make sure that the changes planned here and there can fit in the framework of the French Constitution."

Girardin added the government wishes to foster investments with a new tax exemptions program. Girardin also said that she will try to help the French overseas territories get more support from the European Union in 2003.

January 16, 2003

For additional reports from Tahiti Press, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Sources: Agence Tahitienne de Presse. 

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