PRESS RELEASE – Protocol being established may I simply greet the Hon Prime Minister, the Hon. Ministers, the EU Member States Ambassadors or High Commissioner from UK and France, the EU Honorary Consuls, fellow diplomats, our National Authorising Officer, distinguished guest and members of the press.
Good morning and Happy Europe Day.
40 years ago we were young. The European Economic Community (EEC) was around 20 years old when it met a 10-year old Barbados. With an age gap like that you would think that the friendship could not last. But it did.
And the EEC also befriended others in the region. Now that the EU is near 60 and Barbados is close to 50 we no longer talk about the age gap but rather about what we have in common, what we have achieved together and what more we can do together, and that’s what I’ll try to talk about.
Forty years ago the, then, EEC opened an office in the 10-year old independent nation, Barbados. This was three years after the United Kingdom joined the EEC, which obviously encouraged Barbados and other independent Caribbean countries to establish this new relationship with Europe.
The four Lome Conventions from 1975 to 2000 provided financial & technical assistance and, not least, preferential treatment for sugar and rum, that was so important for Barbados’s economy at the time.
In 2000 Barbados and its African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) partners negotiated with the EU the new Cotonou Agreement with more development opportunities and a stronger regional focus.
EU’s partnership with Barbados has led to co-operation in such areas as education, health, agriculture and renewable energy to name a few. Of course, there are many projects