The new OAD, which will come into force as from next January, intends to set the ground for a mutually beneficial and “reciprocal partnership” between the EU and the OCTs. Much work has gone into its elaboration, with OCTs trying hard to make their views heard and their requests taken into account. With the EU-OCT relations deemed to be at a cross-road, it is timely to take stock of the state of policy dialogue between the two parties, while also analyzing the role and contribution of OCT Member States and other stakeholders to that dialogue. I am glad to inform our readers that this is exactly what OCTA is setting out to do, with support from its EU-funded Technical Assistance Team.
The main objectives of the proposed evaluation are to: (i) establish a general snap-shot of the current general state of EU-OCT policy dialogue; (ii) ascertain the underlying motivators and drivers that inform the policy dialogue processes; and (ii) identify factors hindering a genuine dialogue and conditions for establishing a more equal partnership.
To that end, our Team will interview key stakeholders based in Brussels, Paris, Den Haag and London, including members of OCTA’s Executive Committee (ExCo) and relevant representatives of OCT Member States and of the European institutions in Brussels. Indeed, as specifically requested by OCTA’s ExCo, the European Commission will be invited to be part of the review process. Questionnaires will also be sent to OCT-based Territorial Authorizing Officers and other key respondents.
The enquiry will look both at the instruments of policy dialogue - namely the annual EU-OCT Forum, Tripartites and the Partnership Working Parties - and at major areas or themes of cooperation. Other major questions to be addressed include how OCTA, as an association, is living up to the challenge of promoting EU-OCT policy dialogue and how effective it is as an actor in this process. The constitutional and governance frame-work in which OCTA functions, its current status as a non-profit organization, as well as its influence on the institutional policy dialogue capacities, will be analyzed.
This part of the analysis will link up with ongoing efforts by the OCTA Chair to set up a political OCT mechanism, as per the Ilulissat Declaration, to upgrade the visibility of OCTA and the OCTs in Europe.
The outcome of the exercise will be a better understanding by OCTA and EU-OCTs stakeholders of the determinants of successful policy dialogue with the EU, and of measures that need to be taken to upgrade the dialogue so that it is effective, mutually beneficial and is based on genuine principles of equal partnership.
We look forward to the collaboration of all those who will be approached to ensure the successful implementation of this exercise.
OCTA ExCo President