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Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Can a non-integrated Caribbean relate to a single European approach?

This month, senior Caribbean officials will meet in Jamaica with their European counterparts to consider the nature of the future Cariforum-European Union (EU) relationship. Their objective is to develop a first outline of a joint Caribbean-EU political strategy which may be used to inform the EU-Cariforum and EU-Latin American and Caribbean Heads Government meeting due to take place in Madrid on 17- 18 May this year. The meeting in Jamaica follows from a broader event organised in Barbados earlier this month involving officials, representatives of civil society and the private sector. At that meeting the objective was to develop an agenda of shared interests and priorities. According to those who attended from both the Caribbean and Europe the Barbados encounter suffered from an absence of debate about the fundamental political and institutional issues that need first to be addressed if the future relationship between Europe and Cariforum is to be based on reality. That is to say it avoided addressing key questions that require resolution before a strategic partnership is possible. It failed to explain why, at this time, a joint EU Cariforum strategy is required when both parties are struggling to make work existing institutional arrangements such as the Cotonou Convention and the Economic partnership Agreement; it did not ask how a Caribbean that is far from integrated, without regional institutions with executive authority and with differing foreign and economic policies, is to relate to a single European approach; and it did not address how a more political approach would ensure that development and other aspects of the transatlantic relationship would improve in practical terms the everyday life of Caribbean and European citizens.

Source: Starbroek News