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European Union (EU) – Overseas Countries & Territories (OCTs) Forum 2011

Honourable Roger Edwards MLA is due to attend the annual EU-OCTs Forum in New Caledonia from 28th February to 4th March. This annual event is fully sponsored by the EU and alternates between being hosted in Brussels one year and an Overseas Territory the next. The five day event allows the 25 Overseas Territories associated with the EU to meet with officials from the European Commission along with the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs. The four Member States (UK, The Netherlands, Denmark and France) that have OCTs are also represented at the Forum and feed into discussions on a broad range of issues such as trade, environment, development funding and political concerns.

 This year the majority of the forum will focus on the key issue of future EU-OCT relations. The current EU Decision that governs the relationship between the Territories and the EU is due to expire in 2013. Over the past 12 months much work has gone into consulting on how this relationship should be structured in the future, and much of this consultation shall be reviewed and finalised at the Forum. There is also to be a morning dedicated to the issue of environmental conservation in OCTs and the development of renewable energy. The Falkland Islands are due to present on these issues.

 The Falkland Islands Government Representative, Sukey Cameron and Senior Economist, Michael Poole, will support the Hon. Roger Edwards MLA at the Forum. This is an excellent opportunity for FIG to present their views to the EU and for all territories to meet together and discuss common issues.