France and the Cook Islands

Relations with France and the European Union

Prime Minister Henry Puna took part in the Fourth France-Oceania Summit held in Paris on 26 November 2015 attended by President Hollande, and the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21) in December 2015.

The Cook Islands is close to French Polynesia in terms of its geography, culture and people. This fosters contacts, as seen in the agreement signed in April on the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the Manatua submarine cable connecting Tahiti to its Pacific neighbours, which should be operational towards the end of 2019.

The French Polynesia armed forces (FAPF) are important to our cooperation efforts. They regularly organize exercises on fighting illegal fishing and managing relief operations (for example, the Marara exercise of 14 October 2017, in which nine foreign countries – including the Cook Islands – participated).

Bilateral cooperation between the Cook Islands and New Caledonia has been reinforced, especially through the twinning of their marine protected areas. An agreement was signed during the ministerial meeting organized in Ajaccio in November 2013 as part of the third International Marine Protected Areas Congress. It focuses on site management and aims at facilitating communication, information, exchanges and decision making between agents working for the site management organizations.

Lastly, France contributes 18% of the European Union’s programming budget. Under the 11th European Development Fund (2014-2020), Europe gave funding of €1.4 million to the Cook Islands for sanitation, waste management and the development of renewable energies. In October 2016, the Cook Islands signed a Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement (SFPA) with the EU. As part of this partnership, the archipelago will receive almost USD$7 million over four years in exchange for a fishing quota of 7,000 tonnes per year, revenues that exceed those of other bilateral agreements, including the fishing treaty signed with the United States. In addition, the government will receive USD$1.8 million to support the fisheries sector. It intends to invest this sum in installing a modern fisheries surveillance system and providing subsidies to local fishermen.

Updated: October 2018