Den Haag – Nederland, Frankrijk, Sint Maarten en Saint Martin hebben vandaag in Den Haag afgesproken de samenwerking op het gedeelde eiland te versterken.
Een gezamenlijke verklaring werd ondertekend door minister-president van Sint Maarten Jacobs, president Mussington van Saint Martin, minister van Buitenlandse Zaken Hoekstra en minister voor de Franse Overzeese Gebieden Carenco. Eerder dit jaar werd de weg voor meer samenwerking geëffend met het bereiken van een akkoord over de exacte grens tussen Sint Maarten en Saint Martin waarover eeuwen is gesteggeld.
Joint Declaration by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, France, Sint Maarten and Saint Martin on the Fifth Quadripartite meeting
On 15 June 2023, Mr. Hoekstra, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Mr. Carenco, Minister of Overseas Territories for the French Republic, Ms. Jacobs, Prime Minister of Sint Maarten and Mr. Mussington, President of the Territorial Council of Saint Martin met in The Hague at the Fifth Quadripartite meeting. The intention of this meeting is to deepen the friendship and ties between these Parties and build cooperation in various fields.
Several documents were signed to expressing the progress achieved. During the meeting, the Parties came to the following agreements and conclusions:
1. On the Border Agreement
Reference was made to the recent successful conclusion of extensive discussions related to the border between Sint Maarten and Saint-Martin. The signing of the Border treaty took place on 26 May 2023 by Prime Minister Jacobs, on behalf of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Minister of Interior and Overseas Territories Gerald Darmanin, on behalf of the French Republic. The border agreement serves as a testament to the positive and constructive dialogue that has taken place between the two nations, setting a precedent for future collaborations.
Parties agreed on several aspects related to the implementation of the new border treaty, in particular, the installment and functioning of the joint border commission.
2. Maritime cooperation
France and The Kingdom of The Netherlands signed a Letter of Intent regarding “ Hot Pursuit during Maritime Counter Drug Operations in the Vicinity of Saint Martin and Sint Maarten”. Through this document, Signatories reaffirmed the necessity to strengthen cooperation between their authorities responsible for maritime surveillance and recalled the wish to establish procedures for the exchange of operational information related to drug and other forms of trafficking in their jurisdictions. Signatories have jointly decided to negotiate a Treaty in which the Parties intent to create conditions and procedures by which both Signatories have permission to enter each other’s territorial sea during their patrols to conduct surveillance operations in accordance with the objectives of article 2 of the San Jose Agreement in support of the other Signatory.
Signatories intend to finalize the negotiations on this Treaty and to sign this Treaty in 2023.
3. Police cooperation
In order to enhance police cooperation, the Government of the French Republic and the Government of Sint Maarten have agreed to sign later a declaration of intent on Interior Security.
During the meeting Parties promised to further increase the effectiveness of their partnership. The Parties aim to make joint public police interventions more efficient and effective. The cooperating parties commit themselves, within the legal framework, to a rapid, adequate and functional exchange of data. Structural exchange of information will also take place in the various consultations on public order, security and migration crime of both countries.
Parties agree to create a physical bureau, called “Security forces of Saint-Martin and Sint Maarten Information exchange and liaison Office” in Cole Bay. From this jointly arranged workspace in Cole Bay, colleagues from the KPSM and the Immigration and border protection of Sint Maarten and French law-enforcement forces will handle requests from the respective forces to support the operations and facilitate the exchange of information.
4. Tax cooperation
Parties recall their joint commitment to fighting tax evasion and avoidance, and expressed their desire to fight all types of social fraud. Mutual assistance between Parties must be reinforced with respect to the sharing of information. France indicated that Saint-Martin will be included in the bilateral tax agreement of 2010 for exchange of information between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the French Republic that is already in force.
Parties acknowledge the importance to cooperate more closely in the field of Education. Sint Maarten and France signed a letter of intent with the aim to improve exchanges between various primary, secondary, and tertiary academic institutions on the island with the view of sharing resources in the areas of education, culture, youth, sport and arts. The letter of intent amongst others also enables the reciprocal use of sport and recreational facilities and enhances the possibilities for on-the-job training.
6. Access to EU funds
Parties commit to work closely together to improve territorial cooperation projects to benefit the two parts of the island, specially through Interreg programs. Parties also agree to mutually explore possibilities to gain better access to european funding, whilst taking into account the different relationship with the EU.
7. Future elements of cooperation
The following areas of cooperation are identified to further deepen the partnership between the Parties:
Social affairs (including welfare fraud);
Disaster Management and Fire Fighting;
Telecom and digital infrastructure;
These areas will serve as an agenda to shape future cooperation. Parties reaffirm their commitment to continue with a frequent dialogue.