February 18, 2013 | 2:45 pm | Print
Above: the CARICOM Summit in Haiti (CJ Photo)
By Alexander Britell
PORT-AU-PRINCE — The Caribbean’s relationship with the European Union is becoming increasingly one-sided, St Lucia Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony told the CARICOM Summit in Haiti Monday.
“The truth is that our relationship with Europe is becoming even more and more one-sided, with Europe seemingly having its way at ever turn on every occasion,” he said. “Europe had its way with bananas, sugar and EPA [the Economic Partnership Agreement] and now it is having its way with differentiation.”
“Differentiation” is part of a proposal by the EU to change the way it determines its aid, particularly to the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP).
The proposal would mean the application of different levels of development cooperation to different countries, using “needs and performance criteria.”
Crucially, it would target resources towards Least Developed Countries, while cutting allocations to High Income and Upper Middle Income Countries; the latter two categories describe many of the countries in the Caribbean, and could mean significant cuts to the region.
The ACP has expressed its “concerns” over the plan.”
“This issue must be fought resolutely,” Anthony said. “The relationship between EU and the CARIFORUM [which includes CARICOM and the Dominican Republic] countries is not just economic but profoundly political — Europe as will as CARICOM will have to determine not just the diplomatic but also the political value of the existing relationship.”
The plight of Caribbean economies remains a major issue for the region, he said. “The unvarnished truth is that our economies need each other to survive,” he said.
Anthony, who preceded Haiti President Michel Martelly as CARICOM Chairman, urged the Caribbean to have a “big conversation about the future of our economies, not just the future of CARICOM.”