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EU willing to fund study on cost of not having CARICOM

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Tuesday, 03 June 2014

EU willing to fund study on cost of not having CARICOM

The EU is willing to fund a study on the opportunity costs of not having a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in place. Mr. Ewout Sandker, Head of Cooperation, Delegation of the EU to Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago and the Dutch Overseas Countries and Territories, made the announcement on Monday 26 May.
He stressed the importance of a solid data foundation for development in general, and regional integration in particular. He  also posed some questions to the Forum and made reference to the path the EU  took integration.  In the 1980s, the EU conducted a study on the opportunity cost of not having a fully integrated market in Europe. The results  were an “enormous push” to regional integration.
“Something like that could be done in the Caribbean as well, and we would be happy to provide funding for such a study (of) the cost of not having CARICOM,” Mr. Sandker said.
Over the past decade, the EU has been providing support to the Community to strengthen regional statistics and to improve its use in policy-making. About €4M of the €57M Ninth European Development Fund cycle to the Community was granted to produce and disseminate economic statistics, to harmonise statistical structures across the Region and to train staff to use the economic statistics to monitor the regional integration process.  
The EU and the Caribbean Forum of African Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM) deepened support to the field of statistics under the 10th EDF. From the €18M allocated to the CSME under the 10th EDF, about €2M was allocated to improve the intra-regional systems to produce and disseminate timely, high quality, harmonized statistics to monitor the CSME.
“If you can’t measure it; if you don’t now the compliance at national levels with different areas of integration, how can you allocate resources in a sensible way? If you don’t know, you cannot prioritise. If you don’t know what is the impact of the regional integration process, how can you argue that it is a good thing? How can you argue that you should go further and deeper,” Sandker concluded.