A New Partnership with British Territories

25 June 2021

Thierry Santa chaired the Special Meeting of the OCTA organized via videoconference on June 24th (the morning of June 25th for New Caledonia).


Under the presidency of New Caledonia, a ministerial conference of the European Union's Overseas Countries and Territories Association (OCTA) took place virtually on June 24. On the agenda was the establishment of a new framework for cooperation with  British territories following their withdrawal from the OCTA. 

As a result of the Brexit on February 1, 2020, the British territories can no longer be members of OCTA. Indeed, the association brings together the overseas countries and territories (OCTs) associated with European Union (EU) member states, namely now Denmark, the Netherlands and France (see box). However, the long-standing partners have agreed, after a lengthy consultation process, that collaboration between the U.K. territories and OCTA will evolve and take a different form.

Memorandum of Understanding

The ministerial conference held on June 24, under the chairmanship of New Caledonia, formalized the withdrawal of the British territories from OCTA membership. It was then devoted to the establishment of a new framework for cooperation, described in a Memorandum of Understanding between OCTA and the United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA). The health crisis has revealed the importance of cooperation and solidarity with our neighboring countries and territories," said the President of the Government of New Caledonia, Thierry Santa, who currently chairs OCTA. It is an opportunity for the citizens of our territories to get to know each other, to exchange our experiences and to maintain our collaboration for the future while making the most of all the existing levers for the benefit of our populations."

Twenty OCTA delegations participated in this Special Meeting 

  Cooperation Areas

 All delegations recognized the value of their cooperation over the past twenty years. The MOU aims to continue this successful relationship with  British territories in the areas of climate change, biodiversity, oceans, sustainable energy and post-Covid-19 economic recovery. Bermuda's Deputy Premier and Minister of Home Affairs, Walter H. Roban, welcomed the "unanimous decision of the British Territories and the Overseas Countries and Territories associated with the EU to continue to work together and to develop a strong framework for cooperation in a spirit of partnership. The next major meeting of OCTA members is the EU-OCT Forum scheduled for the first quarter of 2022.

From 22 to 13 Members

The Special Meeting was also an opportunity to revise OCTA's bylaws to reflect the reduction in membership. The Association now has 13 related territories:

  • to France: New Caledonia and French Polynesia, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, French Southern and Antarctic Territories and Wallis and Futuna ;

  • to the Netherlands: Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, St. Barts, St. Eustatius and Sin Maarten ;

  • to Denmark: Greenland


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