Speaking on behalf of the EU Council Presidency, the Lithuanian representative to the Political and Security Committee ambassador Darius Pranckevičius has presented the new Overseas Association Decision to the 12th EU-OCT (Overseas Countries and Territories) forum on December 5 in Brussels.
“The new Overseas Association Decision, entering into force from 2014, takes into account global changes since 2001. Environment and climate change now rank higher on the regional and global agendas. Global trade patterns have significantly evolved, too. The EU itself has designed a new strategy to create conditions for a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy over the next decade,” said ambassador Pranckevičius.
The ambassador underlined that the adoption of the new Overseas Association Decision was a key priority of the work programme of the Lithuanian Presidency of the EU Council and is based on the mutual interests of the EU and its Overseas Countries Territories. It reflects the development of the relations from development assistance to mutually-beneficial partnership and support to sustainable development.
“Solidarity between the Union and the Overseas Countries and Territories is based on their unique relationship and their belonging to the same European family. The Union’s financial assistance has incorporated the political priorities that emerged in the last decade, the response time of assistance has been reduced. It will promote cooperation between the Overseas Countries and Territories and their neighbours and facilitate access to the EU programmes for which they are eligible,” said ambassador Pranckevičius.
EU Commissioner Andris Piebalgs thanked the Lithuanian Presidency for the excellent results and the agreement on the new Overseas Association Decision, reached after 15 months of negotiations.
Overseas Countries and Territories are associated with the EU from the Rome Treaty in 1958. They include islands in the Atlantic, Antarctic and Arctic oceans, regions of the Caribbean, Indian and Pacific oceans. They are not sovereign states but parts of four EU Member States: Denmark, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The association of the OCTs with the EU is based on the constitutional relations with these four Member States and their citizens are EU citizens.