Funding key in St. Maarten’s relationship with Europe

POSTED: 02/2/12 12:33 PM

St. Maarten – The matter of sustaining funding is a point of concern that Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams put forward at the recent meeting in Brussels between the members of the Overseas Countries and Territories Association (Octa) and representatives of the European Union (EU). Her comments counterbalance those put forward by the representative of the Kingdom Government that attended the meeting on behalf of the Netherlands, which is an EU member state. That representative also stressed the need for more European countries to get “on board” with the OCTs.
“I stressed the point that notwithstanding the global and European financial and economic issues we believe that the relationship, in addition to the funding possibilities that are there for OCTS, needs to look at other possibilities for enhancing the relationship between the OCTs and the European Union,” Wescot-Williams said at Wednesday’s Council of Ministers press briefing.
Hammering out the relationship and what it entails is a necessary part of a process to come to a new Overseas Association Decision (OAD) as the current OAD expires in December, 2013. As such it was discussed both at the Octa meeting and at the Octa/EU Forum.

Caribbean block
Wescot-Williams also announced Wednesday that Curacao’s Prime Minister Gerrit Schotte also used the meeting to call for the Caribbean OCTs to form a regional grouping. Parties have committed to discussing it further at a meeting that will be held on Curacao. No definitive for that meeting has been set as yet.

Parties also watched over the transition of chairmanship of Octa from the premier of Montserrat Ben Meade to the Prime Minister of Greenland Kuupik Kleist.

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