Friday, 23 January 2009

EU overseas association framework

The associated non-European, overseas countries and territories (OCTs) are special. They do not form part of the European Community (European Union), but neither are they third countries from the EU’s point of view.

The relations between the European Community and the OCTs are both special and asymmetric.

Article 183 of the Treaty establishing the European Community lays down some basic principles concerning this special relationship. The framework covers the trade regime, investments for development, procurement (tenders) and the right of establishment.

Trade: The EU member states apply the same rules to their trade with the OCTs as to the other member states (paragraph 1). .

An OCT applies the same trade rules to other EU member states as it applies to its mother country (paragraph 2).

Development investments: The EU member states contribute to development investments in the overseas countries and territories (paragraph 3).

Tenders: As a counterweight to the financial obligations of EU member states, businesses from all member states or other OCTs can participate in procurement procedures concerning Community investments in OCTs on equal terms (paragraph 4).

Establishment: Non-discriminatory rights of establishment are to be set out (paragraph 5).


The wording of Article 183 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC):



Article 183 TEC

Association shall have the following objectives.

1. Member States shall apply to their trade with the countries and territories the same treatment as they accord each other pursuant to this Treaty.

2. Each country or territory shall apply to its trade with Member States and with the other countries and territories the same treatment as that which it applies to the European State with which is has special relations.

3. The Member States shall contribute to the investments required for the progressive development of these countries and territories.

4. For investments financed by the Community, participation in tenders and supplies shall be open on equal terms to all natural and legal persons who are nationals of a Member State or of one of the countries and territories.

5. In relations between Member States and the countries and territories the right of establishment of nationals and companies or firms shall be regulated in accordance with the provisions and procedures laid down in the Chapter relating to the right of establishment and on a non‑discriminatory basis, subject to any special provisions laid down pursuant to Article 187.


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Consolidated Lisbon Treaty

Article 183 TEC underwent no specific amendments, so without looking at the intervening steps we present the consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU, where the corresponding provision is Article 199 (OJEU 9.5.2008 C 115/137):

(PART FOUR
ASSOCIATION OF THE OVERSEAS COUNTRIES AND TERRITORIES)



Article 199 TFEU
(ex Article 183 TEC)

Association shall have the following objectives.

1. Member States shall apply to their trade with the countries and territories the same treatment as they accord each other pursuant to the Treaties.

2. Each country or territory shall apply to its trade with Member States and with the other countries and territories the same treatment as that which it applies to the European State with which is has special relations.

3. The Member States shall contribute to the investments required for the progressive development of these countries and territories.

4. For investments financed by the Union, participation in tenders and supplies shall be open on equal terms to all natural and legal persons who are nationals of a Member State or of one of the countries and territories.

5. In relations between Member States and the countries and territories the right of establishment of nationals and companies or firms shall be regulated in accordance with the provisions and procedures laid down in the Chapter relating to the right of establishment and on a non-discriminatory basis, subject to any special provisions laid down pursuant to Article 203.


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Scadplus

The Commission’s Scadplus web pages contain summaries of Community legislation. The page Association of the OCTs with the European Community is available here (latest update 20 February 2008):

http://europa.eu/scadplus/leg/en/lvb/r12301.htm



The web page European Development Fund (EDF) presents the main instrument for aid to African, Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP countries) and OCTs (last updated 14 June 2007):


http://europa.eu/scadplus/leg/en/lvb/r12102.htm


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Commission

The Commission’s Directorate-General Development offers additional information and links on the web page EU relations with its associated overseas territories:

http://ec.europa.eu/development/geographical/regionscountries/regionscountriesocts_en.cfm



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Future overseas association relations

The Commission has issued a Green Paper on future OCT relations. The Communication Future relations between the EU and the Overseas Countries and Territories, Brussels, 25.6.2008 COM(2008) 383 final, is available here:

http://ec.europa.eu/development/icenter/repository/1_EN_ACT_part1_v8.pdf


With the Green Paper the Commission launched a discussion on the future relations between the EU and the OCTs, in the longer term. The grounds, objectives and nature of the solidarity between the EU and the OCTs are discussed. More specific issues regarding the trade regime applicable to the OCTs and the OCTs’ specific characteristics are dealt with in a Commission staff working paper.

In addition to the questions about the future, the Green Paper presents the situation of the European Community, the member states and OCT nationals, especially if you read the Annexes contained in
The Commission Staff Working Document accompanying the Green Paöer Future relations between the EU and the Overseas Countries and Territories, Brussels, 25.6.2008 SEC(2008) 2067:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=SEC:2008:2067:FIN:EN:PDF



In other words, if you regard one of the following OCTs as more than an exotic holiday destination, you might want to read the Commission papers:

Greenland, New Caledonia and Dependencies, French Polynesia, French Southern and Antarctic Territories, Wallis and Futuna Islands, Mayotte, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Aruba, Netherlands Antilles (Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten), Anguilla, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Montserrat, Pitcairn, Saint Helena and Dependencies, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, Turks and Caicos Islands, British Virgin Islands, [Bermuda].



Ralf Grahn