Caricom and Cariforum Secretary-General, Ambassa-dor Irwin LaRocque has voiced concerns that the new European Development Policy may see a decrease in development assistance from the European Union (EU).
In his address at the Twentieth Meeting of the Cariforum Council of Ministers in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on Thursday, LaRocque further said that the new Policy threatens to “cast a shadow over Cariforum-EU relations which had matured and broadened to the benefit of both parties.
The new EU Development Policy includes a reassessment of the EU’s assistance to middle income countries, a press release from the Caricom Secretariat said.
“A disquieting aspect of this approach, better known as differentiation, is based exclusively on macro-economic referents like [Gross Domestic Product], Gross National Product] and per capita income in individual Cariforum States. If applied without taking into consideration the vulnerability and the limited resilience of the small economies of Cariforum, not to mention the acute levels of poverty in numerous communities, this will have a negative impact on certain programmes and the levels of assistance to be allocated to some of our Cariforum States under the 11th EDF. In a word, our concern is that the quantum of assistance from our major development partner will be decreased,” he told his audience at the opening ceremony.
The Secretary-General said that shaping the new relationship with the EU will be examined at a time when a “new partnership strategy is taking form and a new EU Development Policy and approach to budget support is being fashioned, threatening to cast a long shadow over Cariforum-EU relations in the years to come.”
The policy was one of the matters to be discussed during the Meeting which the Secretary-General described as one of the most important of the 20-year history of Cariforum. “In order to further discuss the important issue of the future of EU development assistance, on the initiative of the Chair of Cariforum, ministers (would have had) the opportunity to engage Mr. Christian Leffler, Managing Director for the Americas of the European External Action Service”, the release said. He was to address the meeting on issues of mutual interest, including the vital issue of differentiation, LaRocque announced.
Among the other items on the agenda were the governance of Cariforum; review of the status of Ninth and Tenth European Development Fund (EDF) programming and implementation, and consideration of a prospective Eleventh EDF Programme; the implementation of the Cariforum-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA); and Cariforum’s engagement in the first EU- CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) Summit scheduled for January.
Danilo Medina, President of the Dominican Republic delivered the feature address at the Opening Ceremony, the release said.