Europe has strong historic and cultural ties with the Caribbean region. Moreover, the region includes seventeen territories with direct links to some EU Member States (four French 'outermost regions'; and twelve 'overseas territories' - five British, six Dutch and one French). Sixteen Caribbean countries are members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and of the CARIFORUM group. Fifteen of them are parties to the EU-ACP Cotonou Partnership Agreement.
The EU's relations with the Caribbean countries are based on political relations, trade and development. In addition to the Cotonou Agreement, the relationship is complemented by the EU- CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement for trade, and the Joint Caribbean EU Partnership Strategy. This latter identifies five key areas for EU-CARIFORUM and intra-CARIFORUM regional cooperation, including Regional Integration, Haiti's Reconstruction, Climate Change and Natural Disasters, Crime and Security, and finally Joint Action in Multilateral Fora.
Agreements and fora that help the EU and the Caribbean countries to work towards common goals include: Joint Caribbean-EU Partnership Strategy (2012); EU-CARIFORUM Economic and Partnership Agreement (signed in 2008). Specialized meetings on drugs and migration; and EU-RIO Group - Caribbean countries are either full members or represented.
For the period 2008-2013, the European Development Fund (EDF) provides approximately €938m for the implementation of the National and the Caribbean regional indicative programmes.
Summits of the EU, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) leaders take place biennially, the last one was held in Santiago, Chile, in January 2013, and the next one will take place in Brussels in 2015.