EU Relations with Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands are a British OCT. The territory is made up of three islands: Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac. The capital is George Town (on Grand Cayman). The total population of the Cayman Islands stands at approximately 46,600 inhabitants (July 2007), but of which only about 60% are Caymanians.
The islands are known as a tourist destination and an international finance centre. Per capita GNP stood very high in 2004 at US$ 43,800. Hurricane Ivan devastated the islands in 2004 and had a significant impact on the economy, which is nevertheless recovering quickly and was back at an estimated US$ 46,500 in 2006.
With no direct taxation, the islands are a thriving offshore financial centre. More than 68,000 companies were registered in the Cayman Islands as of 2003, including almost 500 banks, 800 insurers, and 5,000 mutual funds. Regarding transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes, the Cayman Islands committed to improving transparency and establishing effective exchange of information in tax matters. A stock exchange was opened in 1997. Tourism is also a mainstay, accounting for about 70% of GDP and 75% of foreign currency earnings. The tourist industry is aimed at the luxury market and caters mainly to visitors from North America. Total tourist arrivals exceeded 2.1 million in 2003, with about half from the US. About 90% of the islands' food and consumer goods must be imported. The Caymanians enjoy one of the highest outputs per capita and one of the highest standards of living in the world.
The UK remains responsible for foreign affairs, defence, internal security and the public service. In other areas, executive power is exercised at island level. The current Leader of Government Business is Kurt Tibbetts. The main political parties are the People’s Progressive Movement (PPM) and the United Democratic Party (UDP - opposition). The next elections are scheduled for 2009. There is a genuine parliamentary democracy on the Cayman Islands.
External and regional environment
The Cayman Islands being an OCT, they do not fully participate in the regional integration process. The Cayman Islands are however an associate member of CARICOM.
Relations with the EU
The Cayman Islands are not eligible for territorial allocations under the 9th or 10th EDF due to their high GNP per capita (which exceeds the Community average).
The Cayman Islands submitted a request to the Commission for aid from the 9th EDF for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of houses that were destroyed by Hurricane Ivan. For this purpose, a project of € 7 M has been accepted.