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EU continues to fund Caribbean projects
Despite the economic difficulties in the Eurozone area, the European Union (EU) will continue to fund projects in the Caribbean, Christian Leffler, Director of Latin America Section in the European External Action Service said yesterday.
“We will continue to co-operate with all our partners throughout the Caribbean and the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) world. Within the current economic context in Europe, where there is a pretty severe recession throughout the continent and economic challenges, particularly in member states, there is strong pressure on EU institutions to cut back on the budget overall.
“One thing that has been clear form the start of the discussion is that there is a broadly shared feeling within the EU that we must continue to rise to the challenges of international development and we should stay true to our commitment to work with our partners in the ACP world and elsewhere around the world. Funding levels will remain high and ambitious, how ambitious I do not know yet,” he said.
Leffler spoke during a video conference from Brussels at the EU Delegation’s T&T Office, Queen’s Park West, Port-of-Spain. The EU leaders will travel to Chile on January 26 to 27 for a summit with counterparts from the Latin America and the Caribbean Community countries (CELAC).
Leaders at the summit will review political developments and address crucial issues and opportunities faced by the EU and Latin American and Caribbean countries.
“We need to make a concerted effort in our commitment to the UN to work toward the Millenium Development Goals as a collective engagement of all countries of the UN. We need to better focus our co-operation in order to achieve the best possible results in contributing towards a sustainable roadmap of poverty reduction around the world,” Leffler said. He said the EU will continue offering support to other countries in the “long haul.”
“One peculiarity of EU’s financial partners around the world is the long term programming. Sometimes our partners find that frustrating because we work in long cycles and they get impatient with results. But it also has another side to that coin which is that we offer a degree of stability in the co-operation. We are in there for the long haul. Once we have committed to a certain level of funding we will stay with it.”
Leffler said the EU is currently developing its next cycle of co-operation. “In the EU we are currently in the process of formulating our overall strategies for development co-operation for the period 2014 to 2020. That involves discussion with lender states with the level of the funding as well as the focus and the priority where that funding should be directed in the first instance.”
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