Aruba is a Dutch OCT. The island is located outside the Caribbean hurricane area. The capital is Oranjestad. The total population of Aruba stands at approximately 100,018 inhabitants in 2007. The economy of Aruba is based on tourism. Per capita GNP is US$ 21.600 (2004).
The economy of Aruba is a small insular economy, but benefits from a favourable climate and harbour access to commercial roads. It evolved from being an economy predominantly based on the oil and transhipment industry towards an economy based on tourism (although the refineries and the storage of oil remain important). The offshore financial market also takes an increasingly important place in the economy. Regarding transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes, Aruba committed to improving transparency and establishing effective exchange of information in tax matters. The unemployment rate is 6.9% in 2005. Public finances remain a serious concern. The estimated inflation rate is at least 3.4% for 2005.
The Netherlands are responsible for external relations, defence and justice. Apart from that, Aruba is autonomous and has a proper government, led by Prime Minister Nelson O. Oduber (MEP). The main political parties are People's Electoral Movement Party (MEP), Aliansa/Aruban Social Movement (MSA), Aruban Liberal Organization (OLA), Aruban Patriotic Movement (MPA), Aruban Patriotic Party (PPA), Aruban People's Party (AVP), Real Democracy (PDR), RED and Workers Political Platform (PTT). The next elections are scheduled for 2009. There is a genuine parliamentary democracy in Aruba.
External and regional environment
Aruba being an OCT, they do not fully participate in the regional integration process. Aruba is however an observer to CARICOM. It is also and an associate member of ECLAC.
Relations with the EU
Aruba did not benefit from a territorial allocation under the 9th EDF, among others because of the important backlog from previous EDFs. However, transfers from previous EDFs amounted to € 10.19 M and are used to finance two projects (National Museum and National Park). Technical assistance is also hired from EDF funds to assist the Territorial Authorising Officer's office in the management of EDF funds. Following the Mid-term Review of the 9th EDF, an extra € 1 M was allocated to Aruba to cover cost-overruns regarding the National Park project.
Under the 10th EDF Aruba receives € 8.88 M. A territorial allocation was reintroduced at Aruba's request and is in accordance with the applicable eligibility criteria.