Sunday, 25 January 2009

EU Law: Overseas Association Decision

The detailed rules and procedures for the association of the non-European countries and territories are to be laid down by the Council unanimously, based on experiences and treaty principles. Article 187 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC) is the legal base for these rules:


Article 187 TEC

The Council, acting unanimously, shall, on the basis of the experience acquired under the association of the countries and territories with the Community and of the principles set out in this Treaty, lay down provisions as regards the detailed rules and the procedure for the association of the countries and territories with the Community.


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Original ToL

Article 2, point 153 of the original Treaty of Lisbon amends Article 187 TEC:


153) In Article 187, the words ‘acting unanimously’ shall be replaced by ‘acting unanimously on a proposal from the Commission’ and the following sentence shall be added at the end of the Article:

‘Where the provisions in question are adopted by the Council in accordance with a special legislative procedure, it shall act unanimously on a proposal from the Commission and after consulting the European Parliament.’.


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In practice, the decisions have been taken on proposals by the Commission, but the Lisbon Treaty makes it mandatory. The addition of consulting the European Parliament on provisions in accordance with a special legislative procedure was in line with Article III-291 of the Constitutional Treaty.


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TFEU consolidated


After the amendments Article 203 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) looks like this, published OJEU 9.5.2008 C 115/139:

(PART FOUR
ASSOCIATION OF THE OVERSEAS COUNTRIES AND TERRITORIES)


Article 203 TFEU
(ex Article 187 TEC)

The Council, acting unanimously on a proposal from the Commission, shall, on the basis of the experience acquired under the association of the countries and territories with the Union and of the principles set out in the Treaties, lay down provisions as regards the detailed rules and the procedure for the association of the countries and territories with the Union. Where the provisions in question are adopted by the Council in accordance with a special legislative procedure, it shall act unanimously on a proposal from the Commission and after consulting the European Parliament.


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Overseas Association Decision


The Overseas Association Decision, officially Council Decision 2001/822/EC of 27 November 2001 on the association of the overseas countries and territories with the European Community
(‘Overseas Association Decision’), published OJ 30.11.2001 L 314/1, has been amended. The consolidated version (of 26 April 2007) is available here:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CONSLEG:2001D0822:20070426:EN:PDF


Article 187 TEC is the legal base for this decision ‘sui generis’. Articles 182 to 186 TEC (and treaty principles in general) form the framework for the detailed provisions of the Overseas Association Decision.

The Overseas Association Decision has been prolonged to be in force until 31 December 2013, which corresponds with the EU’s current financial perspective (long term budget) and the Tenth (intergovernmental) European Development Fund (EDF).

Article 1 of the Overseas Association Decision reiterates the purpose, objectives and principles of the association between the non-European (overseas) countries and territories (OCTs), which have special relations with Denmark, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom:

Article 1
Purpose, objectives and principles

1. The association of the OCTs with the Community, hereinafter referred to as the ‘OCT-EC Association’, shall have as its basis the purpose set out in Article 182 of the Treaty, namely to promote the economic and social development of the OCTs and to establish close economic relations between them and the Community as a whole.

It shall pursue the objectives laid down in Article 183 of the Treaty in accordance with the principles set out in Articles 184 to 188 of the Treaty by focusing on the reduction, prevention and, eventually, eradication of poverty and on sustainable development and gradual integration into the regional and world economies.

2. The association relates to the OCTs listed in Annex I A.

3. In accordance with Article 188 of the Treaty, this Decision shall apply to Greenland subject to the specific provisions set out in the Protocol on the special arrangements for Greenland annexed to the Treaty.


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Main objectives

Earlier blog posts have looked at the individual treaty provisions referred to. The condensed view of the objectives is (paragraph 1):

1. Poverty reduction
2. Sustainable development and gradual integration into the regional and world economies.


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Associated OCTs

The OCTs are listed in Annex II of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC). The arrangements for association are not applied to Bermuda in accordance with the wishes of the Government of Bermuda (Recital 22).

Therefore, Annex I A to the Overseas Association Decision lists the following OCTs (Article 1(2)):


ANNEX I A
LIST OF THE COUNTRIES AND TERRITORIES (OCTs) REFERRED TO IN ARTICLE 1

— Greenland,
— New Caledonia and Dependencies,
— French Polynesia,
— French Southern and Antarctic Territories,
— Wallis and Futuna Islands,
— Mayotte,
— St Pierre and Miquelon,
— Aruba,
— Netherlands Antilles:
· Bonaire,
· Curaçao,
· Saba,
· Saint Eustatius,
· Saint Martin (Sint Maarten),
— Anguilla,
— Cayman Islands,
— Falkland Islands,
— South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands,
— Montserrat,
— Pitcairn,
— Saint Helena, Ascension Island, Tristan da Cunha,
— British Antarctic Territory,
— British Indian Ocean Territory,
— Turks and Caicos Islands,
— British Virgin Islands.


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Greenland

Greenland is a special case. According to Article 188 TEC, Articles 182 to 187 TEC apply to Greenland, subject to the specific provisions for Greenland set out in the Protocol on special arrangements for Greenland, annexed to the treaty.

Article 1(4) of the Overseas Association Decision reiterates these principles.


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Overseas Association Decision overview

The structure and the contents of the Overseas Association Decision at a glance by looking at the headlines:



PART ONE
GENERAL PROVISIONS OF THE ASSOCIATION OF THE OCTs WITH THE COMMUNITY


C h a p t e r 1 General provisions

Article 1 Purpose, objectives and principles

Article 2 Basic elements

Article 3 The least-developed OCTs


C h a p t e r 2 Actors of cooperation in the OCTs

Article 4 Principles

Article 5 The different actors involved

Article 6 Responsibilities of the non-governmental actors


C h a p t e r 3 Principles and Procedures of the OCT-EC Partnership

Article 7 Dialogue and Partnership

Article 8 ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly

Article 9 Management



PART TWO THE AREAS OF OCT-EC COOPERATION

Article 10 Areas of cooperation

Article 11 Productive sectors

Article 12 Trade development

Article 13 Trade in services

Article 14 Trade-related areas

Article 15 Social sectors

Article 16 Regional cooperation and integration

Article 17 Cultural and social cooperation



PART THREE INSTRUMENTS OF OCT-EC COOPERATION


TITLE I DEVELOPMENT FINANCE COOPERATION


C h a p t e r 1 General provisions

Article 18 Objectives

Article 19 Principles

Article 20 Single Programming Documents

Article 21 Scope of financing

Article 22 Eligibility for financing

Article 23 Programming and implementation

Article 24 The EDF-OCT Committee


C h a p t e r 2 Resources made available to the OCTs

Article 25 Financial assistance


C h a p t e r 3 Private Sector Investment Support

Article 26 Investment promotion

Article 27 Investment support and financing


C h a p t e r 4 Additional support in the event of fluctuations in export earnings

Article 28 Additional support


C h a p t e r 5 Support for other actors of cooperation

Article 29 Objectives and financing


C h a p t e r 6 Support for humanitarian and emergency aid

Article 30 Objectives and means


C h a p t e r 7 Implementation Procedures

Article 31 Technical assistance

Article 32 Financial control


C h a p t e r 8 Transition from previous European Development Funds (EDFs) to the 9th EDF

Article 33 Implementing the previous EDFs and the transitional phase

Article 33a


TITLE II ECONOMIC AND TRADE COOPERATION

Article 34 Objective


C h a p t e r 1 Arrangements for trade in goods

Article 35 Free access for originating products

Article 36 Transhipment of non-originating products in free circulation in the OCTs

Article 37 Committee procedure

Article 38 Quantitative restrictions and measures having equivalent effect

Article 39 Waste

Article 40 Measures adopted by the OCTs

Article 41 Surveillance clause

Article 42 Safeguard measures

Article 43 Committee procedure


C h a p t e r 2 Trade in services and rules of establishment

Article 44 General objective

Article 45 General principles of establishment and the provision of services

Article 46 Maritime transport


C h a p t e r 3 Trade-related areas

Article 47 Current payments and capital movements

Article 48 Competition policies

Article 49 Protection of intellectual property rights

Article 50 Standardisation and certification

Article 51 Trade and the environment

Article 52 Trade and labour standards

Article 53 Consumer policy and consumer health protection

Article 54 Prohibition of disguised protectionist measures


C h a p t e r 4 Monetary and tax matters

Article 55 Tax carve-out clause

Article 56 Tax and customs arrangements for Community-funded contracts


C h a p t e r 5 Vocational training, eligibility for Community programmes and other provisions

Article 57 Vocational training

Article 58 Programmes open to the OCTs

Article 59 Euro-Info Correspondence Centres (EICC)

Article 60 CDE and CTA


PART FOUR FINAL PROVISIONS

Article 61 Change of status

Article 62 Review

Article 63 Entry into force

Article 64 Publication


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Implementing Commission Regulation


Implementing rules are set out in Commission Regulation (EC) No 2304/2002 of 20 December 2002 implementing Council Decision 2001/822/EC on the association of the overseas countries and territories with the European Community ('Overseas Association Decision'), published OJ 21.12.2002 L 348/82. The Implementing Regulation has been amended, so here is a link to the consolidated version (of 5 December 2007):

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CONSLEG:2002R2304:20071205:EN:PDF


The subject matter of the Implementing Regulation is:


Article 1
Subject matter

This Regulation lays down the procedures for the programming, implementation and control of the Community financial assistance to the overseas countries and territories (OCTs) managed by the Commission under the Tenth European Development Fund (EDF), in accordance with the provisions of the Overseas Association Decision and the Financial Regulation applicable to the 10th EDF.


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Financing OCT association


Council Decision 2007/549/EC of 16 July 2007 modifying the Internal Agreement of 17 July 2006 between the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council, on the financing of Community aid under the multiannual financial framework for the period 2008-2013 in accordance with the ACP-EC Partnership Agreement and the allocation of the financial assistance for the Overseas Countries and Territories to which part Four of the EC Treaty applies (published OJEU 3.8.2007 L 202/35), took account of the EU accession of Bulgaria and Romania and modified the Internal Agreement. It contains the references necessary for the interested reader:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2007:202:0035:0036:EN:PDF





Ralf Grahn