Islands and overseas Entities – MEP Spyros Danellis & MEP Maurice Ponga


Tuesday, 10th of July 2012, 12:30
European Parliament, Brussels P7C050

“The OCTs are Green Growth generators in their regions,” said the Head of the Greenland Representation in Brussels

Brussels, July 10th 2012: “Education, innovation and research will be key in promoting green policies, stimulating economic growth and creating new jobs in the future,” said Lida Skifte Lennert, Head of the Greenland Representation in Brussels yesterday in the European Parliament at a seminar on the topic: “From the Arctic to the Tropics: Green Growth in the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs),” hosted by Maurice Ponga, Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and co-Chair of the “Islands and Overseas Entities” working group of the EP Intergroup “Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development.” This event was organised in collaboration with the Government of Greenland, currently holding the chairmanship of the Overseas Countries and Territories Association (OCTA).

Bringing together over 90 participants, Members of the European Parliament, European Institutions representatives, diplomatic missions and Permanent Representations to the European Union, and representatives from Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs), this seminar discussed the need for greater investments in education, research and development in the OCTs as essential drivers for green economic growth.

All speakers agreed on the fact that this group of islands have enormous assets, such as a vast biodiversity and attractive conditions for developing solar energy, wind farms and smart grids that would put a break to their dependence on imports. Yet, the OCTs’s also face important challenges, such as insularity, that can be overcome through partnerships with the EU, ACP and international organisations.

“The legal framework of cooperation between the OCTs and the EU is currently being reviewed: it is thus now the appropriate time to think about how the environment, research, innovation and green growth can be included in this partnership,” said MEP Maurice Ponga, chair of the meeting.

“The OCT family is characterised by a great level of diversity, in terms of population, size, distance from mainland, but also in terms of economic and social development,” said Chloé Calvignac, President of OCTA. “All OCTs have assets that are of great interest and that offer immense opportunities to the EU: one of the tasks of the OCTA is carry communication actions that would bring greater visibility to the OCTs, especially in Brussels,” she said.

Mr. Theo Saramandis, Head of the Task Force OCTs in DG DEVCO, European Commission, echoed this need for greater recognition of OCTs’ assets and to convey more of their values and principles in the EU-OCT relationships. “This is the reason why the Overseas Association Decision (OAD), the unilateral legal framework of partnership between the EU and the OCTs, is about to be reviewed to take into account the challenges that have emerged in the OCTs during the last decade,” stated Mr. Saramandis. Conversely, he added: “this partnership does not limit itself to financial assistance. Trade and trade related issues form a substantial part of the association. Furthermore, the question of mutual interest has now become evident in terms of what the OCTs can offer to the EU and vice versa,” said the Head of the OCT Task Force.

The discussion focused on the need to enhance regional cooperation to contribute to the economic, social and environmental development of the OCTs. It was commonly agreed that the unique and privileged position of the OCTs can very often act as model and motor of development in their geographic zones, through innovation and research in the fields of environment, biodiversity and renewable energies. Yet, more financial aid through EU programmes such as LIFE and greater levels of private/public investments are needed in the OCTs in order to break with the dependency cycle.

Documents of the meeting
Report EN
Rapport FR
Press release
List of participants
practical information
information pratique
Communiqué de presse
Invitation EN
Invitation FR

Skerritt Andrew
Skifte Lennert