European Union delegation on one-day visit to SVG
A delegation of High level European Union (EU) officials arrived in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) for a one-day visit yesterday as part of an ongoing tour to some Caribbean countries.
The delegation included the Director General, Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DGDEVCO) Stefano Manservisi, and was headed by the EU Ambassador to the Barbados and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Daniela Tramacere.
The new EuropeAid Head of Division for Caribbean Countries, Felice Zaccheo, and the Political Advisor from the Delegation of the European Union to Barbados, Ovidiu Naftanaila, completed the delegation.
Ambassador Tramacere, in a brief press conference held after the cohort’s arrival at the Argyle International Airport(AIA), commented, “It is an occasion which is extremely important and it doesn’t come by chance, so I really hope that we will seize the opportunity today to talk about very many topics beyond our cooperation portfolio.”
The Ambassador added that Manservisi is an extremely senior official in the European Union and it is not an everyday occasion for him to be present.
Manservisi said that it was a pleasure for him to be visiting St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) as part of their Caribbean tour, which started in Barbados, and will continue with visits to St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.
The visit to SVG, the Director General explained, was to make the point of the cooperation between the EU and SVG, and their relationship, as well as to prepare for the future.
In the light of the changes that the EU will see in the near future, with a new Commission, and a new President of the European Council, Manservisi stated, “it is our duty, I will say my duty, having been in the region since many, many years to make
the point and to offer a brief on where we are, and about the importance of this region for the European Union.”
The Director General said that special attention in their discussions yesterday would be paid to the role that St Vincent is playing and will play, as it is “the first time that a small state like St Vincent will hold a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council.”
He believes that the seat could be used to give a voice to St Vincent, and the region as a whole.
“Smaller is beautiful, and small is important and we have always said that the small islands are not just islands for vulnerability, they are telling us a story. They’re telling us a story of development, of human development and of capacity with dealing with opportunities and also difficulties,” Manservisi commented.
Further, he noted negotiations are still underway with respect to the Cotonou Agreement, which is an ACP-EU Partnership Agreement signed in June 2000. Since 2000 it has been the framework for the relations with the 79 countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP). The Agreement was concluded for a 20-year period, which will end after next year.
The delegation was on the way to Cabinet after their conference at the AIA, and were slated to visit the Buccament Polyclinic, and the St Vincent and the Grenadines’ Community College in the afternoon before departing.
The two institutions received funding from the EU for building and expansion, respectively.