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Two main characteristics distinguish the OCTs from the French Overseas Departments (DOMs): Unlike the DOMs, OCTs are not part of the Community territory and therefore are not part of the EU. Secondly their inhabitants have the nationality of the EU countries to which they are related.
OCTs are constitutionally linked to four EU Member States (Denmark, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom) and they are not independent states as is the case with members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific states grouping.
Like the ACP countries, the OCTs benefit from the European Development Fund (EDF), which is the main budget for financing the development of the OCTs and for regional cooperation. A development and cooperation strategy is adopted by each OCT in the form of a Single Programming Document (SPD). Civil society is also important for cooperation and the non-governmental actors identified in each OCT should be involved in the drawing up of the cooperation programmes.
OCTs can also participate, under the same conditions as and as part of the EU countries to which they are linked, in EU programmes in areas such as education, research and competitiveness and innovation.
The Delegation of the EU to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean is responsible for relations with three of the 21 OCTs scattered around the globe (Anguilla, Montserrat and the British Virgin Islands).
Past EDF funding to the three OCTs covered by the Delegation include construction of a new airport in Montserrat following volcanic destruction, development of a new capital city at Little Bay in Montserrat, the Montserrat Resettlement Project, construction of a culinary arts centre in the British Virgin islands, upgrading of the air transport and road improvement in Anguilla.
EDF support to the OCTs does not include bilateral co-operation by EU countries or support under the regional programme.
The EU together with Anguilla and Montserrat have completed the programming of the 10th Single Programming Documents (2008-2013). Anguilla has been allocated €11.7 million and Montserrat €15.7 million.
The European Commission is also jointly working with CARIFORUM on the implementation of the 10th EDF Caribbean Regional Indicative Programme which has been allocated €165 million. This includes a specific allocation to support the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) implementation of their new Economic Union Treaty. All three regional OCTs are members of the OECS.