In the French overseas territory of new Caledonia has started a Referendum on independence from France. Approximately 175,000 eligible to vote can vote, whether they are in favour of “full sovereignty and independence” of the territory. Polls show a majority of 60 to 69 percent of the voters are for the maintenance of the Status Quo expect.

opponents of independence point to the financial support by the France – approximately 1.3 billion Euro in the year. They fear economic disadvantages, should be cut off the Connections to France. Supporters of independence there are, especially among the indigenous Kanak, about 40 percent of the population. Around 27 percent of the inhabitants are of European origin. The rest of the population comes from Asian countries or from other Pacific Islands.

30 years Ago, it came to violent clashes on the question of independence. In the case of a hostage situation on the island of Ouvéa members of an independence movement in 1987, captured around 30 gendarmes. In a Referendum in 1987, 98 percent voted to remain a part of France. The vote was boycotted by the movement for independence of the Kanak. The Nouméa agreement of 1998, should lead to a settlement of the conflict. The agreement provides for after the Referendum on Sunday, two more by 2022, if the voters against independence votes.

The island group is reliant in the areas of defense, law enforcement, foreign policy, justice and education entirely in France, but also enjoys far-reaching autonomy. New Caledonia is represented in the French national Assembly by two deputies and is regarded as an associated territory of the European Union. The residents are allowed to cast in European elections. The currency is not the Euro, but the Pacific Franc.

The Islands, some 1,200 kilometres East of Australia in the southwestern Pacific ocean. The today of around 270,000 inhabitants, the territory was taken in 1853 by France in possession. On new Caledonia, about a quarter of the world’s Nickel deposits. Nickel is an important raw material in the manufacture of electronic devices.

The area also has geo-strategic importance: critics of independence have warned that China could increase its influence in the Region, if France pulls back.