Français

Home > The OCTs > Caribbean > Saint-Barthélemy > Presentation of Saint-Barthélemy

Presentation of Saint-Barthélemy

Member state: France
Surface area (km2): 21 (25 km2 islets included)
Population: 8,800 (until January 1st 2011)
Density (/km2): 410 h/km2
Capital: Gustavia

Location

Located at the junction of the Greater and Lesser Antilles, 230 km northwest of Guadeloupe, 25 km southeast of Saint-Martin and 6,750 km from Paris.

Area and Topography

It is a dry land covering 21 km² (25km² with islets) with dry hills of volcanic origin, which houses a rare and mostly thorny vegetation. Beaches are rough and full of coves with fine sand.

Climate

The climate of Saint Barthelemy island is maritime tropical. There are two seasons: a dry season called lent from December to May and a rainy season called winter from July to October.
If sunshine remains high throughout the year, rainfall remains a very variable aspect of the climate. However, there are more rains during the cyclone season, which runs in the winter. It is during this season that the cloud masses moving towards the east may develop into tropical depressions, storms and cyclones.

Economic activities

Given its physical characteristics, rocky configuration, lack of rivers and low rainfall, the development of St. Barthelemy is based on tourism.
Its economic structure is thus focused on the core activities in the tourism sector, nonfinancial commercial services, trade and construction.
Its GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita is estimated at € 29,000 and the unemployment rate is estimated at 4% of the active population (source: IEDOM, report 2011).

Political and administrative status

St. Barthelemy is an overseas collectivity of the French Republic whose autonomy is declared in Article 74 of the French Constitution. Its citizens are French citizens. Between 1947 and 2007, St. Barthelemy was administratively attached to Guadeloupe, as a municipality of this department. In December 7, 2003, the voters of St. Barthelemy massively voted in favor of the status of overseas collectivity.
Organic Law No 2007-223 of 21 February 2007 containing statutory and institutional provisions relating to the overseas collectivities, has converted the municipality of St. Barthelemy into an overseas collectivity. The new COM of Saint Barthelemy was formally established at the first meeting of the Territorial Council, a new legislative body composed of 19 members elected for five years, in July 15, 2007.
The President of the Territorial Council is the executive body of the Overseas Collectivity whose role is to represent it to third parties, to prepare and execute the resolutions of the Territorial Council and the Executive Board and to chair the Executive Council.

Education/Training

St. Barthelemy has five schools: four of 1st degree education (two public and two private schools) and one college. The construction of a new primary education school outside the town of Gustavia is soon considered.
There is no high school or higher education institute on the island. However, since 2008, the Mireille Choisy College has opened a first year high school class, which provides students with the most common options. This experience should be extended. In addition, the Collectivity has established grants and special aid for families experiencing difficulties in financing their children’s further education outside the island.

Focus

Making St. Barthelemy an EU center of excellence in the Caribbean arc, as part of its evolution in OCT in January 1st, 2012

By choosing to evolve in OCT, the intent of St. Barthelemy’s elected officials was not to move away from Europe, but to be consistent with the autonomy that the collectivity already has in terms of national law and of being able to adapt the European law locally, only within the strict framework of the powers that have been delegated to it by means of Organic Law of February 21, 2007.

Thus, we expressed the wish to include the evolution of St. Barthelemy in OCT in the project of making them "centers of excellence" that could well become true bridgehead of the European Union in their area, as proposed in the Green Paper on the future OCT-EU relations. This is what we are going to undertake across the Caribbean region, because OCT are neighbors of the ACP States, and we could thus share our experiences in a useful way.

In this spirit, we also intended as an OCT to actively contribute to the promotion of "European" values in our geographical area and the strengthening of regional cooperation, which already initiated with the decision of the Council of Ministers of the Association of Caribbean States since January 28, 2011, to specifically mention St. Barthelemy and St. Martin as territories representing France in the ACS and the recent signing of an agreement between the Collectivity and the French Development Agency.

Moreover, given that the OCT have a strategic importance as the "outpost" of the European Union in areas that are more or less remote and distributed all over the world, we could also create a "center of experience and expertise" for example through the implementation and promotion of high quality standards in the field of environment, good governance, innovation and sustainable development.