Montserrat’s Premier signs OCT Political Declaration

On Tuesday evening, Montserrat’s Premier, Reuben T. Meade, along with other high level Political Representatives of Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT’s) signed the Political Declaration.

The Declaration had been approved by Cabinet prior to his departure to Greenland. The paper sets out the programme of cooperation between the European Union and the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT’s) and its implications.

“It can be seen as a real milestone in the forward journey of building a stronger and better partnership with the European Union,” Director of Projects from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management Joseph Irish noted.

On Wednesday, Member States from the European Union; the Kingdom of Denmark, French Republic, Kingdom of the Netherlands addressed the members of the Overseas Countries and Territories on the occasion of the 11th OCT-EU Forum. They reaffirmed their commitment to the OCTs and discussed the proposal for the new Council Overseas Association Decision which will come into effect in 2014.

{FILE IMAGE} Following that meeting a ceremony was held for the signing of the Financing Agreement for the Regional Caribbean Project – “Strengthening the Development of Small and Medium Enterprises of the OCTs in the Caribbean”. Montserrat is expected to benefit from this 15m Euros programme.

The afternoon session was reserved for Member States and OCT Heads of Government to discuss some of the key issues and challenges that OCTs were facing and should be addressed in the new Overseas Association Decision (OAD) which is being finalised. A number of specific areas were identified, such as:

1. Financial Services

2. Trade

3. OCTs access to horizontal programmes

4. Simplification of EU procedures

5. To ensure that the EU does not use a one size fit all approach. Consider the diversity of the islands.

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