PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, Oct. 7) - The French government’s overseas minister, Brigitte Girardin, met in Paris on Monday with the presidents and members of parliament of the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) to prepare a joint approach on their future relations with the European Union.

The OCT "doesn’t seem to have the place it should have" in the European Commission’s development policy, according to a communiqué issued by the Overseas Ministry. A Nov. 27, 2001 decision associated the European Union with OCT, making OCT eligible for aid from the European Development Fund (EDF), the communiqué noted.

Moreover, French Polynesia Government President Gaston Flosse, who attended the Paris meeting, said the same thing. The recognition of an entity like the OCT as being distinct from the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP Group) "is necessary so that we can fully accomplish the objectives set by the OCT’s decision", Flosse said. He noted that the ACP Group involves less developed countries and ultra-peripheral regions, while the OCT countries and territories have historical and institutional ties with Europe.

The French overseas minister proposed a joint declaration for all OCT members and the concerned member states, such as France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Denmark. She proposed that the declaration be submitted to the European Commission during the upcoming yearly European Union-OCT Forum scheduled for Dec. 2-5 in Brussels.

Ms. Girardin said the declaration was aimed at taking into account the specifics of the OCT members and proposed improvements in the European Commission’s work and approach towards the OCT.

The French members of OCT are Mayotte, the French Southern and Antarctic Lands, St. Pierre and Miquelon, French Polynesia, New Caledonia and Wallis and Futuna. Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana and Reunion are part of the ultra-peripheral regions.

October 9, 2003



Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment