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ZEI Discussion Paper C 255 / 2019

Ludger Kühnhardt: The European Archipelago. Rebranding the Strategic Significance of EU Overseas Countries and Territories

ZEI Discussion Paper C 255  /2019

Through Brexit, the number of overseas countries and territories associated with the European Union is shrinking by almost fifty percent. As maritime issues in all aspects are of growing importance, it is a matter of urgency for the European Union to rediscover the Overseas Countries and Territories attached to France, the Netherlands and Denmark as strategic assets in the projection of the EU’s global ambition. This ZEI Discussion Paper gives an overview of the importance attached to the OCTs in all four corners of the world. In 2018, the European Commission presented a draft new Overseas Association Decision which shall take effect in 2021. This paper provides a critical analysis of its strengths and weaknesses. It ends with a strong plea to upgrade the status of OCTs: The paper of ZEI director Ludger Kühnhardt argues that only by putting them on an equal footing with EU outermost regions can the OCTs become a strategic asset embedded in the domestic policy of the EU.

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