Above: EU Representative Robert Kopechy and CARICOM SG Irwin LaRocque sign the agreements (Photo: CARICOM)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM) and the European Union signed three financial agreements aimed at boosting the region’s integration efforts.
The three agreements have a total value of $110 million, which will support integration and trade in the OECS, the further development of the CARICOM single market, with special allocations for Belize and Haiti, and CARIFORUM’s commitments under its joint EU partnership agreement.
The OECS portion will strengthen the organization’s capacity to integrate into wider CARICOM arrangments.
The CARICOM single-market agreement will place emphasis on developing government procurement, labour market information systems and e-commerce.
Funds have been set aside to support Belize and Haiti to be better positioned to take advantage of the single market.
“Impact, results and benefits must be the watchwords at the level of implementation,” said CARICOM Secretary General Irwin LaRocque. “We must satisfy regional stakeholders that our actions bring them added value to their lives. That is the bottom line.”
Robert Kopechy, EU representative to CARICOM, called the funds a “testimony to the EU’s continued commitments to support the Caribbean region in the dynamic process of regional integration and signal another milestone in the longstanding relation between the Caribbean Forum of ACP States and the European Union.”