EU Relations with Bermuda
Bermuda is an internal self-governing overseas territory of the United Kingdom with an area of 53 km² resting in the Western Atlantic Ocean. Bermuda is comprised of 8 major islands and 130 smaller islands. The capital city is Hamilton.
Its terrain primarily consists of low hills separated by fertile depressions. Bermuda’s subtropical climate attracts many tourists from around the world, primarily from the United States. Although tourism continues to be an important part of Bermuda’s economy, international businesses have recently taken a lead in turning Bermuda into a successful offshore financial centre.
The population of Bermuda is approximately 64,935 with a population growth rate of 0.68% (2004). The primary religion is non-Anglican Protestant.
Bermuda has one of the world’s most flourishing economies resulting from its offshore financial industry; more than 13,000 international companies have ostensibly based themselves in Bermuda. The economy grew 2.5% in 2003 (Economist Intelligence Unit 2004) Bermuda's industrial sector is small with only 1% of its GDP being dependent on it; its agricultural sector is also limited due to only 6% of the land being arable. Bermuda’s GDP is USD 3.579 M (2003) with a growth rate of 1.5%. In 2002, 89% of their GDP was composed of services. Bermuda has an external debt of USD 145 M.
Bermuda is the world’s largest captive insurance domicile. Locally based companies account for 1/3 of the world’s catastrophe reinsurance capacity.
Bermuda’s export rate is at USD 51,000,000 and is strongly dependent on re-exports of pharmaceuticals. Its main export trading partners are the EU and the US. Bermuda’s import rate rests at USD 719,000,000 where imports include machinery and transport equipment, construction materials, chemicals, food and live animals. Their import trading partners include the EU, US and Russia.
In May 2002, following the UK’s White Paper on Overseas Territories. Bermudians were offered automatic acquisition of British citizenship, including automatic transmission of citizenship to their children; the right of abode, including the right to live and work in the U.K. and the European Union; and the right not to exercise or to formally renounce British citizenship. The change in citizenship status has ended the use of capital punishment in Bermuda.
Bermuda’s internal self-government is granted through the 1968 constitution. Since 6 February 1952 Queen Elizabeth has been the Chief of State. Defence, security, and international affairs are overseen by a Governor who is appointed by the UK Government. In April of 2002 John Vereker was appointed Governor and currently holds the pos. The Head of Government is Premier Alex Scott. The Cabinet is nominated by the Premier and is appointed by the Governor. The Governor invites the leader of the largest party in Parliament to form a government as premier Legislative Branch. Bermuda’s legal system is based on English Law.
The bicameral Parliament consists of an 11 member body appointed by the Governor in addition to the House of Assembly that is comprised of 36 members elected by popular vote to serve up to a term of 5 years. The last elections were held on 24 July 2003 and the next upcoming elections are to be held in 2008.
There are three main political parties in Bermuda; the National Liberal Party (NLP); Progressive Labour Party (PLP) and the Untied Bermuda Party (UBP).
External and regional environment
Bermuda is an associate of the The Caribbean Community and Common Market ( CARICOM). Bermuda also participates in the Caribbean Conservation Cooperation (CCC), the International Confederation of Trade Unions (ICFTU), the subbureau of Interpol, and the International Olympic Committee.
Relations with the EU
Upon the request of Bermuda, the territory is not subject to the Overseas Association Decision implementing Part IV of the EC Treaty. Bermuda is however entitled to participate in the Partnership Meetings involving British OCT’s.
Note: Bermuda is an OCT because it is placed on Annex II of the EC Treaty (and will be on a similar annex to the EU Constitution), but does not fall under the scope of the OCT Decisions that the Council takes every 10 years, at its own request.
Relations with international community
Bermuda does not have independent international relations at the political level.