Head of the EU Delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Ambassador, Valeriano Diaz is describing relations between the EU and the Caribbean region over the past four years as fruitful.
Ambassador is ending his stint in the Caribbean and over the past two days has been in Dominica paying a farewell courtesy visit.
Ambassador Valeriano Diaz arrived in Dominica on Thursday and paid a farewell courtesy call on the country’s head of State His Excellency Eliud Williams and Prime Minister Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit. The outgoing Ambassador also met with Representatives of the EU National Authorizing Office in Roseau.
During an exclusive interview with the Government Information Service on Friday, Ambassador Diaz spoke about his stint as well as plans for future cooperation between the EU and Dominica.
“At the end of my tenure I must say that I am satisfied because what we have achieved together has been very positive and important for the relations of Europe with the islands and also for the development of the islands.
Dominica has enjoyed cordial relations with the European Union over the last thirty years and has received significant financial resources towards the sustenance of its banana sector.
Ambassador Diaz confirmed that Dominica has received one hundred and fifty million E.C dollars in assistance from the EU in the last four years towards projects and budgetary support.
“In the past four years Dominica has received close to fifty million euro in assistance and that has been put toward projects and budget support. It has been much needed funds for Government in these challenging times.”
The outgoing envoy noted that the new European Union’s Policy called “Agenda for Change” will focus on the more impoverished countries.
“It promotes a focus on the more impoverished countries, more for the poor less for the rich. In that respect some middle income countries will be support graduated and that has happened already in Latin America.”
Ambassador Diaz has given the assurance that Dominica and like countries in the Caribbean will not be affected by this new EU policy.
“In the case of the Caribbean a decision has not been taken yet. There is a simulation being done in Brussels to see how the balance is. What I can say in my personal opinion based on discussions held in Brussels, Dominica will not suffer” Diaz stated.
Ambassador Diaz says Dominica will not be graduated from EU assistance and will continue to receive a financial envelop from the European Union because of the island’s continued vulnerabilities to natural disasters and external economic shocks.
“The reason basically is the vulnerability of the island. Dominica and other similar islands will continue to have vulnerabilities to natural disasters, also vulnerability to external economic shocks. That is an argument that has been heard in Brussels and I think will be taken into account seriously.”
Ambassador Diaz thanked the Government of Dominica for the management of its EU funded projects and for the guidance and support of Prime Minister Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit who has been following up on Dominica’s Portfolio with the European Union.
Ambassador Diaz will leave the Caribbean shortly to take up a new post in Brussels.