The Overseas Association Decision
In Part IV of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (Articles 198 to 204 TFEU), “Member States agree to associate with the Union the non-European countries and territories which have specific relations with Denmark, France, the Netherlands or the United Kingdom (Article 198).”
The detailed rules and procedures for the association OCT-EU are decided upon by the Council, through the successive “overseas association decisions” which have been adopted since 1964.
With Greenland, the EU has an extensive partnership, additional to the provisions of the OAD and based on: (i) the Greenland Decision (Council) and (ii) the Fisheries Partnership Agreement.
An Implementing Convention annexed to the Treaty of Rome of 25 March 1957 determined the particulars and procedure for the association of the OCTs with the Community for the first five years following the entry into force of the Treaty, i.e. until 31 December 1962. Subsequently, the detailed provisions and procedure for the EC-OCT association were laid down in Decisions with a duration of five years, adopted by the Council on 25 February 1964, 29 September 1970, 29 June 1976, 16 December 1980 and 30 June 1986. On 25 July 1991 and on 27 November 2001, the Council adopted further decisions on the association of the OCTs with the Community, each with a validity of ten years. However, the duration of the Overseas Association Decision of 27 November 2001 was extended in 2007 until 31 December 2013, to coincide with the duration of the 10th European Development Fund and the multiannual financial framework for 2007-2013.
The detailed provisions of the OAD are divided into five parts:
1st part : General provisions applicable to the EU-OCT association
2nd part : Areas of cooperation for a sustainable development as part of this association
3rd part : Trade and cooperation in trade matters
4th part : Instruments for a sustainable development
5th part : Final provisions
The revision of the 2001 OAD was initiated in 2008 with :
- Public consultation and publication of the “Green Paper on future relations between the EU and the overseas countries and territories”,
- Publication of the Commission communication in 2009 “Elements for a new EU-OCT partnership”
- Signature of a document stating the common position of Member States and OCTs in February 2011.
The new OAD was unanimously adopted by the Council on 25 November 2013. The association pursues the general objectives as defined in article 199 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, through the increasing competitiveness of the OCTs, the strengthening of their capacity to adapt, the reduction of their economic and environmental vulnerability, and the promotion of their cooperation with other partners.