(de Ware Tijd) PARAMARIBO – Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Lackin confirms the European delegation in Suriname is about to leave the country.
“I regret this decision and we are doing our utmost to keep the EU here in the current form.” Lackin says he was informed of the EU’s new plans a year ago. These plans include working from regional offices to cut costs. “We would rather have the delegation stay,” Lackin emphasizes again, “particularly because we have many plans together with the EU, namely in the agrarian sector.”
The EU in Suriname contributes to the objectives of the government, namely fighting poverty, sustainable income options and equal access to services. This is done through subsidies, funds and loans, with the European Development Fund (EDF) being the main instrument of development cooperation in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. In addition, Surinamese products, mainly rice and bananas, have access to the EU market. The total amount of aid provided by the EU to Suriname since independence in 1975 is estimated at 165 million Euros. The most important areas of cooperation are the transportation sector (60% of all EDF funds), micro-projects, the rice sector, the banana sector, the private sector, the environment, good governance and democracy. Suriname has utilized more than 90% of the 20 million Euros available to it from the 10th EDF (2008-2013). The EU is making over 30 billion available for the 11th EDF.