Brussels, 04 December 2013---The Overseas Countries and Territories Association (OCTA) held its 12th Ministerial Conference, where all 22 OCT political leaders gathered to support and approve the creation of a Board of Chairs, in order to help increase the visibility of the association and of OCTs with the European institutions.
The OCTs are mainly small islands located in far-plunged areas of the world with populations varying between 50 to 250.000. While being outposts of the EU in these distant places, OCTS feel that they do not get the priority that they deserve on the agenda of the European Union (EU) and with its institutions. The decision to create a Board of Chair was therefore taken to change this situation in order to allow them to secure a higher profile in the EU.
Flexing their muscles, OCTs decided that creating a Board of Chairs - made up of the immediate past chair, current Chair and Vice-Chair - would contribute to give them more visibility at higher levels within EU institutions. This Troika will give the necessary political support to the Europe-based Executive Committee of OCTA in implementing the association’s political resolutions.
With the British Virgin Islands voted in as the new Chair of OCTA, the first troika will be made of the following members :
• Dr. the Hon. Orlando D. SMITH Premier of the British Virgin Islands
• Prime Minister Ivar ASJES of Curaçao (Vice Chair) and
• President Stéphane ARTANO of Saint Pierre and Miquelon (outgoing Chair)
At the end of this high-level conference the outgoing Chair, President Artano of Saint Pierre & Miquelon called upon the EU to support innovation strategies in OCTs through facilitating technology transfer, capacity building and the relevant financial framework. OCTs also reiterated their demand for a simplification of EU procedures, to ensure that development funds reach the Territories.
Other concrete requests include the implementation of a Registered Exporter Scheme and guidance on the use of the revised rules of origin to be introduced under the new Overseas Association Decision that will come into force as from January 2014.