How is the programme designed to deliver results?


The 13 Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) are not sovereign countries. They are part of the territory of three EU Member States (Denmark, France and the Netherlands), but not of the EU, though they have been associated with the EU since the Treaty of Rome. Except for Wallis and Futuna, OCTs are not eligible for development aid under OECD criteria.

OCTs are especially vulnerable to climate change and environmental degradation due to their geography (all are islands). At the same time, almost all are located in global biodiversity hotspots and – together with the Outermost Regions – account for the vast majority of EU biodiversity. They face major challenges in terms of ensuring economic diversification (including away from overreliance on potentially volatile tourism revenues), competitiveness, digital transformation and connectivity (several OCTs are remote and isolated islands). Finally, the OCTs in the Caribbean also face migratory pressures due to the crisis in Venezuela.

The new Overseas Association Decision (OAD) provides an updated legal framework for supporting OCTs’ actions in tackling these challenges and ensuring their economic and social development. For the first time, the OAD incorporates the Greenland Decision, placing all OCTs firmly within the same instrument and under the same source of funding, the EU Budget (OCTs other than Greenland previously benefitted from the European Development Fund).

The EU has an interest in supporting the OCTs’ economic and social development, as OCTs share EU values and policy priorities, and are important EU ambassadors in their regions. The OCTs can benefit from the EU’s significant expertise in sustainable development.


The general objective of the OAD is to promote the economic and social development of the OCTs and to establish close economic relations between them and the Union as a whole. The OAD shall pursue this general objective by enhancing their competitiveness, strengthening their resilience, reducing their economic and environmental vulnerability and promoting cooperation between them and other partners, including the Union as a whole.


The association between the EU and the OCTs is based on the political, trade and cooperation pillars. The specific objectives of the OAD are:

  1. to foster and support cooperation with OCTs, including in addressing their major challenges and reaching the Sustainable Development Goals;
  2. to support and to cooperate with Greenland in addressing its major challenges, such as raising the education level, and to contribute to the capacity of its administration to formulate and implement national policies.


  • EUR 500.0 millionTotal financial programming 2021-2027
2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027
67.0 69.0 70.0 71.4 72.9 74.3 75.4

In EUR million.


Cooperation through the OAD takes place via three main types of actions:

  1. Geographic/bilateral cooperation with individual OCTs;
  2. Regional programmes benefitting OCTs in the Caribbean, Pacific and Indian Ocean regions, based on shared needs;
  3. Intra-regional programmes for cooperation between one or a group of OCTs with one or more non-OCT neighbours, who would participate with their own funds.

Additionally, the OAD sets aside a ‘reserve’ to help OCTs respond to unforeseen circumstances emerging challenges (e.g. migratory pressures), and new international priorities.

Delivery mode

The programme is implemented in direct management by the Commission from Headquarters and/or through the Union Delegations, and indirect management by entities such as the EU Member States’ agencies or international organisations that ensure a level of protection of the EU’s financial interests equivalent to that under direct management. Indirect management may also be entrusted to partner countries or the bodies they designate.

The lead service is DG INTPA, in cooperation with DG TRADE, DG REGIO and other line DGs – especially on external dimensions of internal policies like climate, environment, energy, health and digital.

Performance framework: more information

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Where are we in the implementation?

You will find information on the programme implementation in this webpage.

It will be updated when the programme will have started on an annual basis alongside the publication of the draft budget and the discharge.

Next publication (estimation): June 2022.

Predecessor programmes 2014-2020

Under the 2014-2020 MFF, cooperation with OCTs was carried out both under the OAD (which also applied to Greenland) and the additional Greenland Decision. For simplification purposes and taking into account the 2017 mid-term evaluation of external financing instruments, the OAD and the Greenland Decision were merged into a single new OAD under the 2021-2027 MFF.

With the ‘budgetisation’ of the European Development Fund In the 2021-2027 MFF, the EU budget became the unified source of financing for all OCTs. For the first time, the new OAD envisages an earmarked envelope for strengthened cooperation with non-OCT neighbours and two horizontal spending targets: 25% for climate change objectives as well as 7.5% of annual spending for biodiversity objectives in 2024 and 10% in 2026 and 2027.

With the new external financing architecture, OCTs will be eligible for investment financing from InvestEU as the new OAD no longer provides for a dedicated OCT Investment Facility.

OCTs are also eligible for the Thematic and Rapid Response actions of NDICI, and as a matter of principle they are eligible for EU horizontal programmes.

Cooperation with Greenland

  • EUR 217.8 millionBudget allocation 2014-2020

Overall execution (2014-2020)

  Total %
Commitments EUR 217.4 million
Payments EUR 201.7 million

This graph includes implementation based on voted budget appropriations and carried-over appropriations.


Key monitoring indicators

  Baseline Progress Target Results Assessment
Completion rate for high school, vocational education and training, and higher education 51.1%
60.0% 53.8% compared to 60.0% Moderate progress
% of target achieved by 2019



Concrete examples of achievements

  • 25%of the total government budget in 2019 was for education and training, while in 2014 it stood at 15%.
  • 60.5%of 16- to 18-year-olds being outside the education system in 2019 shows that education challenges remain pertinent.
  • 70%of students who completed their higher education in 2019 are women and 30% are men, due the higher participation of men in the traditional occupations of hunting and fishing.
  • 97.2%of total exports were for fisheries products in 2019. Fisheries remain a prominent feature in the economy of the country.
  • 91.2%of civil servants were (long-term) residents in 2019, ensuring the capacity of the Greenlandic administration to formulate and implement national policies.

Programme Performance Overview

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