Overseas Association Decision
Overseas countries and territories have been associated to the EU since the Treaty of Rome in 1957. They are not part of the territory of the European Union, but due to their special relations with three of the EU Members States (Denmark, France and the Netherlands) they have an associated status with the Union, as described under Part IV of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (Articles 198 to 204 TFEU) Its objective is to “promote the economic and social development of the OCTs and to establish close economic relations between them and the Community as a whole”.
Detailed rules and procedures of the association are provided by the Overseas Association Decision (OAD). The first one dates from 2001 (Council Decision of 27 November 2001 2001/822/EC on the association of the OCTs with the European Community). The current one is from 2013 (Council Decision 2013/755/EU of 25 November 2013) and governs EU-OCT relations as of 1st January 2014.
As a consequence of the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union, from 1 February 2020, the 12 UK Overseas Territories are no longer Overseas Countries and Territories associated to the European Union.
Taking into account their specific challenges, this OAD seeks to promote OCTs’ competitiveness, develop sustainable and resilient economies and foster strong partnerships in OCTs respective regions where possible.
The OAD applies to all OCTs but Greenland also has its own Decision which complements the OAD. Following the new Multi-Annual Financial Framework 2021-2027 the two decisions will be joined into a single Overseas Association Decision including Greenland. This new OAD is being negotiated and should be adopted in 2021 (more info here).
Within the Commission, OCTs affairs are managed by Unit B3 – “Relations with All Overseas Countries and Territories” within the Directorate-General for International Partnerships (DG INTPA, formerly known as DG DEVCO).
Video from the European Commission of the 18th OCT-EU Forum which took place on the 10th of December 2020.
It highlights the key moments of the Forum and describes how the association between the EU and Overseas Countries and Territories has come about, its achievements and its future in the new programming period, 2021-2027.
Political Dialogue EU-OCT-MS
The EU, OCTs and Member States have a shared interest in addressing jointly the challenges and opportunities raised by globalisation and the need to support sustainable development and cooperation strategies, as underlined in the OCT-member States Joint Paper (2011). An increasing number of European policies affect the interests of the OCTs. Political and technical dialogue between EU policy makers and the OCTs contribute to the EU-OCT relationship.
The OAD provides for a broad-based dialogue to enable the EU, all the OCTs and the Member States to which they are linked to consult each other on the principles, detailed procedures and results of the association.
This dialogue takes the form of an annual forum, tripartite meetings and partnership working parties.
The annual OCT-EU forum brings together OCT authorities, representatives of the Member States and the European Commission. It is chaired by the European Commission.
Annual Forums take place in Brussels and in an OCT alternatively :
- The 18th OCT-EU Forum took place remotely in 2020 | Article
- The 17th OCT-EU Forum took place in French Polynesia in 2019 | Article
- The 16th OCT-EU Forum took place in Brussels in February 2018 | Article
- The 15th OCT-EU Forum took place in Aruba in February 2017 | Article
- The 14th OCT-EU Forum took place in Brussels in February 2016
- The 13th OCT-EU Forum took place in the British Virgin Islands in February 2015
- The 12th OCT-EU Forum took place in Brussels in December 2013
- The 11th OCT-EU Forum took place in Greenland in September 2012
- The 10th OCT-EU Forum took place in Brussels in January 2012
- The 9th OCT-EU Forum took place in New Caledonia in March 2011
- The 8th OCT-EU Forum took place in Brussels in March 2010
- The 7th OCT-EU Forum took place in The Cayman Islands in November 2008
- The 6th OCT-EU Forum took place in Brussels in November 2007
- The 5th OCT-EU Forum took place in Greenland in September 2006
- The 4th OCT-EU Forum took place in Brussels in December 2005
- The 3rd OCT-EU Forum took place in French Polynesia in March 2005
- The 2nd OCT-EU Forum took place in Brussels in December 2003
- The 1st OCT-EU Forum took place in Bonaire in September 2002
The Commission, the OCTs and the Member States to which they are linked hold trilateral consultations on a regular basis. These consultations are organised, in principle, four times a year at the initiative of the Commission or at the request of the OCTs and of the Member States to which they are associated. The Commission (DG INTPA) also chairs these tripartite meetings.
Partnership working parties
The partnership working parties are dedicated to specific topics (such as financial services, climate/environment, trade or regional integration), act in an advisory capacity and meet on a needs basis.
They complement the work that is being done in the annual forum and/or in the Tripartite meetings.