The twenty-one Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) depend constitutionally on four European Union (EU) Member States: Denmark, France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Arrangements for EU association are in practice not applied to Bermuda, in accordance with the wishes of its Government. OCT nationals are in principle EU citizens, but these countries are neither part of the EU, nor subject to EU law.
Benefits from EU association arrangements focus on economic and trade co-operation, sustainable development and regional co-operation and integration. Regular meetings are held involving all three parties - the European Commission, the OCTs and the relevant EU Member State, including an Annual OCT Forum.
The EU lays down a development strategy for each OCT in the form of a Single Programming Document (SPD). For the period 2008-2013, a total of €286 million was allocated for the OCTs.
OCTs are eligible for participation in EU programmes such as the research framework programme, education and training programmes, the competitiveness and innovation framework programme and cultural and audiovisual programmes.
In view of the expiry of the current Overseas Association Decision in 2013, a Green Paper was issued in 2008 to stimulate debate and launch a process of consultation with all interested parties before defining a new partnership between the EU and the OCTs.