Twenty-five Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs), spreading from the Poles to the Tropics, are associated with the European Union.
All are islands, of which three have no permanent population. Although small in either size or population, or both, due to their constitutional relationships with Denmark, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom the Overseas Countries and Territories play an important role as outposts of the Union in the areas where they are located, but do not, however, form part neither of the EU territory nor of the EU single market.
In accordance with Part Four of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the Overseas Countries and Territories are associated with the European Union. The purpose of this association is "to promote the economic and social development of the countries and territories and to establish close economic relations between them and the Union as a whole".
The EU provides financial support to the Overseas Countries and Territories through the EU budget and the 11th European Development Fund.