The ongoing impact of the recent global financial and economic crisis on CARICOM and CARIFORUM members States will be explored by senior officials of both groupings as they dialogue with European Union representatives on how relations can be further strengthened to the benefit of all concerned.
This was done at the CARIFORUM-European Union Senior Officials Dialogue Meeting which got on the way at the fort young hotel in Roseau on Friday May 11, 2012.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Employment, Trade, Industry and Diaspora Affairs Ruth Allport, said Dominica embraces such an important meeting as it will seek to address key developmental issues.
“We are therefore particularly pleased to have this opportunity to explore further common priorities and shared agendas with the EU recognizing the EU as a long standing partner in our development thrust. This Senior Officials dialogue offers us a wonderful opportunity to concretize the CARIFORUM, EU areas of cooperation in areas such as development and trade, regional integration and approach to budget support among others”.
Deputy Secretary General of CARICOM and CARIFORUM, Ambassador Lolita Applewhaite in welcoming the delegates at the start of the meeting described the meeting’s agenda as being packed and wide ranging.
“The agenda for our dialogue is an extensive one. It allows for discussion on the framework of our political relations. In that context we will review development in both regions as well as the joint CARIFORM EU Strategy which will set the basis for our future cooperation. We will also discuss EU Caribbean and Latin American relations against the background of deepening and expanding Caribbean relations at political, economic and other levels with our Latin American neighbours. Our discussion on regional integration and cooperation will include a dialogue on the proposed new EU development policy and the proposed new approach to budgetary support”.
The European Union at Friday’s meeting received praise from the Caribbean Community, for its continued financial, technical and other support to the region during the current difficult economic global situation.
Meanwhile, Managing Director for the Americas European External Action Service Christian Lefflers, is convinced that due to the advancements made towards a Caribbean EU joint strategy, many opportunities will be identified at this meeting to further deepen cooperation between the European Union and CARIFORUM.
“To frame the new partnership we’ve been working together on a Caribbean EU joint strategy. The strategy is coming very close to completion and I am sure before very long we will be celebrating its simultaneous adoption in Europe and the Caribbean.
Leffler, described the new strategy as “a useful platform to take EU/CARIFORUM relations further.
“I am convinced also that this strategy will provide a useful platform or framework on which we can take our relations even further. It gives us some guiding principles and the impulses to pursue cooperation, to open up new areas, new chapters and to deepen exchanges in the areas where we are already working together”.
Friday’s dialogue is being viewed as an essential instrument of this new Caribbean EU joint strategy and allowed for a better understanding of each other’s position on issues of mutual interest including security and climate change.
Dominica assumed the chair of CARIFORUM on July first 2011. The Dominica meeting follows a 2010 meeting of the political directorate of the two blocs which took place in Jamaica.