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Last updated: 08 October, 2010 - Published 12:38 GMT
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The Territorial Jigsaw

View of Saba from aiport (at bottom) leading up to Mount Scenery
Saba (pictured) along with St Eustatius and Bonaire are now Dutch municipalities
The highest point of the Netherlands has now shifted from Vaalserberg in the southern province of Limburg, to Mount Scenery in Saba.

The new map of the Dutch Caribbean illustrates the extension of Dutch and European Union territory in the region.

Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (known as the "BES" islands), as Dutch municipalities, are now an integral part of the Netherlands and the EU.

This means that the BES islands can now become EU Outermost Regions (ORs), like the French islands, which benefit from special funding from Brussels.

BES islands: Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba
BES islands

Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten, as autonomous partners in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, remain as Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) of the EU and so, are therefore only associated with the Union.

Money matters
Strangely enough, the BES islands have opted for the US dollar as their official currency, instead of the euro. Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten will stick to the guilder.

Some argue that this curious new arrangement will result in an "internal EU border" in the Dutch Caribbean, with the BES islands being part of the EU and the other 3 islands, as OCTs, only partly in the EU.

The former Dutch government told Parliament that it feared this would lead to barriers to trade, transport and migration between the Dutch islands.

Also, as part of the EU, the BES islands and the French islands, are part of the EU's Economic Partnership Agreement with CARIFORUM, while the Dutch and British OCTs, are excluded from the EPA.

There are fears that these islands will be marginalized from the new regional trading dynamic that the EPA is expected to generate - unless they become more involved in the regional integration process.

This is possible, under the EU's Overseas Association Decision (OAD) with the OCTs, which is due for renewal in 2013.

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