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Cooperation and Integration still important – European Union Ambassador

Head of the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to the Eastern Caribbean Countries, OECS and CARICOM/CARIFORUM, Ambassador Mikael Barfod said Friday was a difficult day to work out what the British exit from the European Union means and what effect it will have on the well-being of all the citizens of the European Union. He also stated that there could be some consequences for the Caribbean too, such as renegotiations of trade deals with the United Kingdom (UK). Ambassador Barfod noted that the UK is a major trading partner for many CARICOM Member States. He was speaking on Friday in Barbados at the opening ceremony of a Regional Technical Meeting on the implementation of the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) CSME and Economic Integration Programme (EIP).

The Ambassador says the EU is better off together than standing alone and is counted in the global arena because of this cooperation. Through the EU many small countries can make their voices heard, he added. This is why there is support from the EU for the CARICOM Single Market and Economy. The Ambassador stated that the EU knows firsthand how integration can benefit small countries although the process is not a quick achievement. He said the challenges related to regional integration is well worth taking even though it at times has a gloomy reputation.

He commended the CARICOM Deputy Secretary-General Dr. Manorma Soeknandan for taking the initiative in having the regional technical meeting and reminded that the EU stands with CARICOM on the important endeavor of regional integration. The one day meeting took place at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Barbados.

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