Overseas Countries and Territories: Stepping up cooperation for green prosperity and improved learning and skills

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This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


The Commission is reinforcing its partnership with Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs), which have constitutional links to Denmark, France and The Netherlands, based on jointly agreed priority areas. To underpin this cooperation, the Commission has adopted a financial contribution of €385.4 million for the period 2021-27 to support partnerships based on agreed priorities with cooperation 10 OCTs: Aruba, French Polynesia, French Southern and Antarctic Lands, Greenland, New Caledonia, Saba, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Pierre et Miquelon, Sint Eustatius and Sint Maarten as well as a regional Pacific OCT programme.

Commissioner for International Partnership, Jutta Urpilainen, said: “I am delighted to see how we are forging ahead our EU-OCT partnership. From the Arctic to the North Atlantic, from the Caribbean to the Indian Ocean and the Pacific, the OCTs are privileged partners of the EU. Together, we will address todays’ most pressing challenges – climate action, biodiversity loss and the COVID-19 pandemic – while securing shared prosperity and fostering human development, in particular for the youth through better quality education. Today, we set out our vision of long-term support for greener and more resilient OCTs. This means clean energy and water, quality jobs, reaping digital benefits, all underpinned by comprehensive human development to truly foster each individual’s potential.”

New partnerships, jointly agreed with OCT authorities, will include projects to improve learning and skills (Greenland), digitalisation (Aruba), water management (French Polynesia) and clean energy (New Caledonia, Saba and Sint Maarten), but also nature-friendly cultural tourism (Saint Pierre et Miquelon), sustainable agriculture (Sint Eustatius, Pacific), disaster risk management (Saint Barthélemy) and protection of natural habitats and the oceans (The French Southern and Antarctic Lands). The EU will also launch an EU-OCT Youth Network in 2022.

The agreed priorities are in line with UN’s 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement and EU priorities, such as the Green Deal and the Digital Agenda. In addition, many of them will also support the effective implementation of the Global Gateway strategy.

Background

The thirteen EU’s Overseas Countries and Territories are islands located in the Atlantic, Antarctic, Arctic, Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Pacific. They have constitutional links to Denmark, France and The Netherlands.

While not part of the EU territory nor the EU single market, the around 1 million OCT inhabitants are EU citizens and, for instance, are also represented in the European Parliament.

The OCTs are associated with the EU and enjoy a special political, cooperation and commercial (duty-free and quota-free access to the EU market) partnership with the EU. EU-OCT relations started with the Treaty of Rome (1957) and are enshrined in the Treaty of the Functioning of the EU.

The EU has now adopted 11 Multiannual Indicative Programmes (MIPs) for OCTs for 2021-27. With these long-term frameworks for cooperation, the EU commits to provide funding for jointly defined priorities.

About the Decision on the Overseas Association, including Greenland with the EU (DOAG)

Worth €500 million, the DOAG is the new instrument underpinning the political/institutional, trade and financial cooperation framework for the EU-OCT partnership for 2021-27. Following the merger of previously two legal frameworks, it unifies the rules for the partnership with all OCTs and includes specific provisions guiding the partnership with Greenland, where the Commission will open an office to strengthen cooperation in the future.

Partnerships with OCT will revolve around agreed strategic priorities such as the European Green Deal (climate action, energy transition and biodiversity), digitalisation, sustainable job creation and human development. The EU will also launch an EU-OCT Youth Network in 2022 for a stronger engagement with young people living in the OCTs.

The DOAG foresees the following allocation for 2021-2027:

  • Greenland: €225 million
  • Territorial: €164 million
  • Regional: €61 million
  • Intraregional: €15 million
  • Support Measures: €22 million
  • Non Allocated Flexibility Reserve: €13 million

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