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EU, CARIFORUM officials holding talks

Published:Monday | May 14, 2012 | 12:00 AM

A dialogue between European Union (EU) and Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) countries began in Dominica on Friday with Europe indicating that in the not too far distance, a new strategy outlining greater cooperation between the two regions could be finalised.

Managing Director for the Americas of the EUs European External Action Service, Christian Leffler, told the meeting of EU and CARIFORUM officials discussing issues of mutual interest under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) signed in 2008, that the two regions have had an excellent record of cooperation over the years.

We shared a commitment to democracy and the rule of law and the respect of universal human rights and it is these values that underpin our relationships.

We also share a commitment to promoting economic and social development for the benefit of all our citizens. Todays CARIFORUM-EU dialogue comes at a pivotal juncture in our relations.

Leffler told the meeting that over the years, the relationship has been evolving from a classic old style post independence relationship based essentially on development cooperation and preferential trade arrangements to a far more mature relationship and much more multifaceted relationship between equal partners who choose to work together on a whole range of issues in the political, economic, social, commercial and developmental areas.

He said that in order to frame this new partnership the two regions have 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 a simultaneous adoption in Europe and in the Caribbean.

The meeting is providing an opportunity to exchange information, foster mutual and better understanding and define common priorities and shared agendas, according to a statement from the Ministry of Trade in Dominica.

It said the meeting would also cover all issues of mutual interest and concern on a common global, regional or sub-regional level.

CARIFORUM comprises the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICCOM) grouping and the Dominican Republic.