Tag Archives: Overseas countries and territories

Overseas countries and territories : towards a new partnership

Overseas countries and territories : towards a new partnership

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Overseas countries and territories : towards a new partnership

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Development > Overseas countries and territories (OCT)

Overseas countries and territories (OCTs): towards a new partnership

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 6 November 2009 – Elements for a new partnership between the EU and the overseas countries and territories (OCTs) [COM(2009) 623 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Relations between the European Union (EU) and Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) should evolve into a reciprocal partnership, founded on mutual interests. These relations are currently defined by the framework for association established by Decision 2001/822/EC.

This Communication presents a new approach aimed at supporting the sustainable development of OCTs by adapting the cooperation principles and priorities to the specificities of these countries and territories. In addition, if their level of development is generally higher than that of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states, certain OCTs shall continue to benefit from European aid to fight against poverty.

Supporting sustainable development

The future partnership, based on Article 198 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, should prioritise three axes of cooperation:

  • the competitiveness of OCTs in key areas such as education and training, innovation, the small and medium-sized enterprises sector, and good political and economic governance;
  • reducing their vulnerability to economic shocks, environmental issues, energy dependency and natural disasters;
  • regional integration through increasing intra-regional economic exchanges, carrying out cooperation projects (specifically for cross-border environmental protection) and increasing cultural exchanges.

Cooperation should be tailored to the situation of each partner.

European financial and technical assistance shall be improved, specifically by coordinating financial instruments with those for the Outermost Regions, ACP states or other countries neighbouring the OCTs.

OCTs may participate in certain Community programmes (such as the 7th Research Framework Programme). The programmes must therefore be adapted to the new priorities.

Cooperation priorities

The Commission has identified a set of areas for cooperation which should enable the potential of OCTs to be developed. They involve:

  • establishing centres of excellence and expertise to manage the advantages and difficulties of each territory;
  • upgrading OCT legislation to EU rules and standards, specifically to encourage the trade of goods and services (for example by bringing customs procedures and sanitary and phytosanitary standards closer together) and compliance with the principles of transparency on tax;
  • developing environmental cooperation to support the transition of OCTs to a greener economy, and helping them adapt to climate change, biodiversity protection, the promotion of renewable energies and disaster risk reduction;
  • improving the OCTs’ accessibility by developing information and communication technologies and transport infrastructures;
  • increasing trade and economic cooperation in terms of international trade liberalisation, which entails reciprocal trade relationships and specific rules of origin.

Background

The Communication follows the Green Paper on future relations between the EU and OCTs. The conclusions of the Green Paper support the revision of the existing framework for association.

Overseas countries and territories

Overseas countries and territories

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Overseas countries and territories

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Development > Overseas countries and territories (OCT)

Overseas countries and territories (OCT)

The twenty-one overseas countries and Territories (OCTs) depend constitutionally on four of the European Union (EU) Member States: Denmark, France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. OCT nationals are European citizens.
However, these countries do not form part of EU territory. Accordingly, they are not directly subject to EU law, but they benefit from associate status conferred on them by the Treaty of Lisbon. The aim of this association is principally to contribute to their economic and social development.

  • Overseas countries and territories (OCTs): towards a new partnership
  • Future relations between the EU and Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
  • Association of the OCTs with the European Community
  • Budgetisation of the European Development Fund
  • European Development Fund (EDF)

Future relations between the EU and Overseas Countries and Territories

Future relations between the EU and Overseas Countries and Territories

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Future relations between the EU and Overseas Countries and Territories

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Development > Overseas countries and territories (OCT)

Future relations between the EU and Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)

Document or Iniciative

European Commission Green Paper of 25 June 2008 on future relations between the EU and the overseas countries and territories [COM(2008) 383 Final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The arrangements for association of the overseas countries and territories (OCTs) with the European Community (EC) were established by Council Decision 2001/822/EC, in accordance with Part IV of the European Community Treaty.

The Green Paper should serve as a basis for the development of future relations between the OCTs and the EU. It presents an assessment of the needs and economic, social and cultural development potential of the OCTs.

A new development strategy

The OCTs have specific characteristics in common. They are not part of the Community, however they are constitutionally linked to EU Member States. The majority of them are located in the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP), but their level of development is higher than that of their neighbours. However, the micro-island character of their economies makes them dependent on importing goods and energy. These factors make them particularly vulnerable to international economic shocks.

By following a new approach, relations between the EU and OCTs could be better differentiated from Community development cooperation policy.

The implementation of a sustainable development strategy for OCTs could support their competitiveness, as well as stimulate economic and social exchanges on a regional and global level. The Green Paper underlines the specific importance of exchange between the OCTs, and between the OCTs and the ACP States.

A renewed partnership with the EU could have reciprocal institutional, economic, social and cultural advantages, as well as benefits in the fields of security and environmental protection. Cooperation could prove essential in tackling climate change and biodiversity protection.

Trade regimes

The OCTs and the EU have close economic relations. The OCT-EC trade regime consists of a non-reciprocal preferential trade regime, established in accordance with tariff conditions which are amongst the most generous that have been granted by the Community. However, in view of progressive global and regional trade liberalisation, a reform of the system proves necessary.

Furthermore, in order to maximise the potential of the preferential regime, the rules of origin and cumulation of origin should be modernised. The OCTs should also improve their ability to comply with Community export standards.

Context

Due to Decision 2001/822/EC expiring at the end of 2013, there will be a review of the OCT-EC association before this date. The Green Paper aims to open the debate on the modernisation of OCT-EC relations, the results of which will be taken into account as part of the review. Furthermore, the funding of cooperation must also be reviewed during the negotiations on the multiannual financial framework for the period 2013 to 2020 and on the budgetisation of the European Development Fund (EDF).