Minister of State in Foreign Trade and Business, Sandra Husbands, at the CARIFORUM Caribbean-EU Partnerships 2021-2027 Ministerial meeting, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, yesterday. (GP)
Author: Sheena Forde-Craigg/BGIS
The further deepening and strengthening of relations between the Caribbean and the European Union (EU) were underscored on Wednesday, during the CARIFORUM Caribbean-EU Partnerships 2021-2027 Ministerial meeting, held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill, St. Michael.
Minister of State in Foreign Trade and Business, Sandra Husbands, in her remarks, stressed the need to deepen effective multilateralism and provide a platform to display a strong signal of the partnership between the CARIFORUM and the EU member states.
Noting it was “extremely important” as the region faces the effects of COVID-19, climate change and the situation between Russia and Ukraine, Minister Husbands said: “The CARIFORUM Member States’ commitment to making the partnership with the EU work is very strong, despite the fundamental issues, that we need to discuss…. [And,] I want to reiterate my expectations that our discussions … at this Joint Ministerial Meeting will be pivotal and enable us to achieve cooperation between the CARIFORUM and our EU parties.”
Since 2015, the EU has not had such a level of engagement with the region, and Minister Husbands expressed the hope that the in-person talks would help to energise all parties towards working on a renewed commitment and agreement that would make the partnership between the Caribbean and the EU a successful one.
Co-chairing the meeting was EU Commissioner, Jutta Urpilainen and Chair of CARIFORUM, Antiguan Minister, Paul Chet Greene.
Ms. Urpilainen pointed out that the EU was eager to deepen ties with the Caribbean and noted that they shared a long history of successful partnerships rooted in shared values.
“Today, more than ever, the Caribbean and the EU must deepen our partnership. Russia’s war of aggression has dragged the world into economic recession and food and energy insecurity. But, it has also renewed the urgency to tackle inequalities, reduce vulnerability and increase resilience.
“So we need to make rapid progress and to do it together…because we value you as partners and we want to be your partner of choice,” Ms. Urpilainen stressed.
She disclosed that the EU would be providing an additional EUR 36.5 million to address the food crisis in the region, and would also be forging a Caribbean-EU partnership in the areas of Caribbean Green Deal; Economic Resilience and Trade; and Governance, Security and Human Development.
It was noted that the partnership in the above three areas would be anchored in the post-Cotonou Caribbean Protocol, which is part of the EU’s EUR 300 billion infrastructure investment strategy: Global Gateway. Global Gateway is delivered by Team Europe, which combines the resources and expertise of the EU, its 27 member states and their financial institutions, such as the European Investment Bank.
Through Global Gateway, the Caribbean region will have access to the full scope of the EU’s economic, social, and political know-how.
Ms. Urpilainen, while expressing the belief that partnerships developed between the EU and the Caribbean could assist in making tremendous strides in social cohesion and poverty reduction, said this would also ensure no individual was left behind.