European Union Member States Relations With Their Overseas Territories essay

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political framework of EU and OCT

European Union (EU) and Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) are in association with each other via a system which is based on the provisions of part IV of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU), consisting of detailed rules and measures which are laid down in the document issued on 27th November 2001 title Oversees Association Decision. The expiry date of this association decision is 31st December 2013. Stress has been laid down by the European Council in its conclusions issued on 22nd December 2009 that the relationship between OCT and EU should continuously be updated in order to reflect latest developments not only in EU and OCT but thorough out the world. The commission has also been encouraged to make revisions to the Overseas Association Decision and present it in front of the council prior to July 2012 (Hill et al., 2011).

Current Relationship between EU and OCTs

Although there exist great differences between today's OCT and ACP states but still the recent Overseas Association Decision issued on 27 November 2001 is basically based on a loom which is related to the mutual relationship between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States. The commission has adopted a Green Paper to work on the upcoming relationship between OCT and the EU on 25th June 2008, just to replace the existing policy and to bring in something which is as per the needs of the OCT and is also directed towards strengthening the ties between EU and OCT. This Green Paper has been followed up by Commission Communication COM (2009) 623 of 6 November 2009 which targets a new relationship between EU and OCT. This new relationship would work as a guide in 2011-2012 in replacing the existing overseas Association Decision which would be expiring on 31st December 2013 (Hill et al., 2011).

What are the main problems which this paper will address?

EU and OCT both are in association with each other. At first there were many territories included in OCT, but those territories are now recognized as separate countries, like ACP countries. The logic which was given in the Overseas Association Decision of 2001 regarding the cooperation between EU and OCT is quite identical to the basis of association between ACP states and EU. Despite of the similarity, the description about the cooperation with OCT is given separately in the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU).

Nevertheless, there is no parallelism seen among the daily challenges that are faced by the OCT and the close ties in between OCT and EU. In fact EU does not recognize the strategic importance of OCT as a separate colony, which is spread over the entire globe as the supporters of EU's principles. Furthermore, a much wider international context has developed as a result of globalization, liberalization of worldwide trade and also due to the enhanced district addition of the ACP countries.

Therefore, this paper assesses the past and current legal status of OCTs and ACPs and their significance to European Union. The main question this paper will focus on is:

Where does Europe end, is European Union defined with its continent or are these overseas territories also part of EU?

Additional sub-questions this paper focuses on are the following:

1. Why there are still overseas territories?

2. What European states gain for this relationship?

3. What OCTs gain for this relationship?

Colonial era ended after Second World War and most of the current ASP (African, Caribbean and Pacific states) countries gained independence in 1950s and 1960s. The key question here is: why these 20 overseas territories are still part of some European states, and who wins more from this? To answer this question, this paper uses the theory of realism, neorealism and geopolitics.

All three political theories are relevant in this context as on one hand OCTs get huge financial support from mainland and their economy is strongly linked with mainland economy, but on the other hand, mainland gets all the right over natural resources what might be found in OCTs. Most of the OCTs are islands, so around these islands they have fishing rights, rights to mine the minerals like oil and gas and control over sea lines. But natural resources are not the main reasons to keep these territories - on geopolitical point-of-view, these territories are important for military use. Mainland states can use them as military bases.

The research, however, had some problems with defining and choosing OCTs for this work. It is quite hard to define which territory is overseas territory. For example, in some literature, Isle of Man is UK overseas territory, but in reality it is located between UK and Ireland. This begs the question whether territories which are located on same continent, overseas territories or not?

The second problem faced by this researcher was geographical. OCTs are located around the world; most of them are located in Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean, while some are located India, Atlantic and Northern Ocean. Because of the geographical differences these OCTs have different relations with the mainland. The third problem was based on the fact that different European states had types of policies and bilateral relations with their OCTs.

To avoid these problems, the researcher decided to concentrate only on a certain area and take OCTs from that area. Therefore, the researcher chose Caribbean Sea area. In this area the OCTs density per square kilometer is highest. There are 14 OCTs in this region and they are all located close together. Three European Union member states have OCTs there, i.e. Netherland, United Kingdom and France. Therefore, this also gives the researcher a chance to compare different policies towards OCTs.

The paper starts with a short overview about the colonial era. This historical part of the paper is connected with the imperialism era beginning from the 15th century and ending in the 20th century. Secondly this paper analyzes European Geopolitics origins and its links with economic and military security. Thirdly, this paper discusses realism and neorealism, which forms the theoretical foundation of this paper. This helps in answering questions like: why there are still overseas territories? What European states gain for this relationship? What OCTs gain for this relationship? Lastly, this paper focuses on the current legal status of Carribean Island OCTs to answer the fundamental question of this thesis: Where does Europe end, is European Union defined with its continent or are these overseas territories also part of EU?

Section 1: European Imperialism

The 15th -- 18th century marks an era of European imperialism, starting with the initiation of trade relations with other nations and then moving on to empire building. The bread and butter liaison with other nations was known as Old Imperialism. India, China, Japan and Indonesia are amongst the many nations where European business was at its peak. The leaders shared a relationship of trust and reverence, which was further braced by recurrent cooperation and teamwork between the leaders of nations and European community. For European leaders, the strategy was to build a plaza in each state, therefore, with the exception of Spain and Portugal, the main focus in each state was to maintain strong relations in terms of trade, and not to acquire those using armed forces.

Later, the trade relationship proved to be a stiletto for European Leaders and helped them launch a remarkable subjugation of realms and to build a kingdom. The core strategy was to target the territories that have been tied to apron strings, and to provide economical and technological assistance to help them emerge as competitive nations in world industry. These nations became world known suppliers of victuals and raw materials, and patrons of industrial products. For independent and stable countries, the strategy was to divide and rule; i.e. To divide the nation into colonies and then rule.

Tools of European Imperialists

Imperialism is not like shooting ducks in a pond; it requires a lot of effort and determination. Along with fortitude and audacity, European and American leaders had a profuse collection of tools that helped them achieve their objective. These tools were a gift of industrial revolution; the industry upheaval opened a path for various technological advances and made life a can of corn as compared to old ages. Innovations such as submarine, Suez Canal and steam ships gave European and American leaders an edge over other nations in terms of portability and effective communication. European and American leaders had an additional advantage to move freely to different nations as the inherent obstacles were surmounted by these novelties.

A hindrance to enter Africa was the prevalent disease of malaria, which was overcome by quinine; an antidote to prevent malaria was discovered amongst the many advancements. In the same way, creation of advanced weapons such as breech loader, smokeless powder and machine gun made the defeat of colonies a duck soup. This is because the ancient weapons of these nations were not a match…[continue]

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