Sint Eustatius is a Dutch Overseas Country and Territory (OCT) in the Caribbean region. Sint Eustatius is a public entity of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, having gained this status after the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles in October 2010. Together with the OCTs Bonaire and Saba, it forms the Caribbean Netherlands. The population totalled around 3 000 inhabitants (2022). The island’s economy relies on tourism, trade, oil storage and bunkering as well as international financial services.
EU cooperation with Sint Eustatius is set in the Decision on the Overseas Association including Greenland (DOAG) of 2021, which aims to support the government in its efforts to promote sustainable development.
For the 2021-27 period, the priority is in sustainable agriculture (€2.9 million), to contribute to a healthy natural environment, ensure basic food security and create economic opportunities. The focus is on strengthening agriculture sector governance and creating a conducive environment for sustainable agriculture. Given the small size of the population and the small size of any future agricultural production, any exports are very limited and at a small scale.
Supporting sustainable agriculture is aligned to the DOAG’s goals and objectives and the top priorities of the EU, especially the Green Deal - which foresees to fight climate change and biodiversity loss and to make food systems fair, healthy, and environmentally friendly. It is also aligned to the Global Gateway investment priorities, especially when it comes to investment in sustainable agri-food systems. A sustainable agriculture policy not only addresses the need for a more stable and continuous food supply but also serves as a catalyst for other social and economic sectors and small business development, generating employment.
Jointly with the Netherlands, the EU invested in the development of renewable energy (with the construction of the island’s first photovoltaic plant) and in the decarbonisation of its energy mix (from 24% solar powered renewable energy production in 2017to 45% in 2020 ).
Cooperation with Sint Eustatius is channelled through the territorial cooperation programmes on renewable energy, and on sustainable agriculture for 2021-27.
In addition, Sint Eustatius benefits from regional cooperation through the Caribbean regional programme on resilience, sustainable energy and marine biodiversity (RESEMBID, €42.67 million), and from the 2021-27 Caribbean regional programme on the sustainable management of Caribbean OCT’s natural capital (€21 million). For the 2021-2027 period, the regional Multiannual Indicative Programme (MIP) for Caribbean OCTs, adopted in November 2022, focuses on biodiversity, water management and food security.
Sint Eustatius benefits from the Green Overseas-GO thematic programmeon sustainable energy and enhanced resilience to climate change (€17.8 million), which consists oftechnical assistance, studies, pilot projects and trainings for the beneficiaries individually and in thematic clusters.
Sint Eustatius is eligible for the DOAG’s dedicated intra-regional envelop for all OCTs for the period 2021-27 (€15 million). Intra-regional cooperation is a vital aspect of the EU's approach to OCTs, promoting closer ties and collaboration notably with neighbouring countries, outermost regions, and regional organisations through pilot actions.
OCTs, including Sint Eustatius, can also take part in other EU funding programmes such as TAIEX/Twinning, InvestEU, LIFE, Horizon Europe, and Erasmus+. Sint Eustatius participated in 4 ERASMUS+ projects during the 2014-2020 period. OCTs can also benefit from the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument – Global Europe, as well as from the Humantarian Aid Instrument. Caribbean OCTs can also participate in the Caribbean INTERREG programme for 2021-27.
Finally, youth from Sint Eustatius are participating in the OCT-Youth Network which aims to increase the ties between young people living in OCTs and the European Union and enhance the knowledge and involvement of young people in the EU-OCT partnership.