Caribbean-EU Relations

EU strategy for the Caribbean

Strategic aims

16 Caribbean countries are members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States and CARIFORUM. With one exception, they have also signed the Cotonou partnership agreement with the EU.

Europe has strong historic ties with the Caribbean region, and several EU member states still enjoy close links with the region today.

The EU seeks a partnership for growth, stability and development with the Caribbean, aiming to:

  • strengthen its political partnership with the region
  • support regional integration and help Caribbean countries respond to foreign competition
  • help the region address its specific vulnerabilities, including increasing its ability to respond to natural disasters and combat drug trafficking.

The EU articulated these aims in 2006 in its Communication on EU-Caribbean partnership for growth, stability and development which was confirmed by the European Council that same year.

Political relations

A number of agreements and forums help the EU and the Caribbean countries work towards common goals:

  • EU-CARIFORUM joint communiqué (2008) - calls for a structured, comprehensive political dialogue. And endorses the EU Global Climate Change Alliance with developing countries.
  • EU-LAC summits - in which the CARIFORUM countries participate. Specialised meetings are held on drug-related matters and migration.
  • EU and Rio group - in which the Caribbean countries are either full members or represented.

EU-CARIFORUM economic partnership agreement (EPA)

In late 2008, the EU and 13 CARIFORUM countries signed the EPA - a free trade agreement covering:

  • goods and services
  • investment
  • trade issues
  • sustainable development
  • regional integration
  • development cooperation.

The EPA links into the EU aid for trade strategy, and the signatories are working to enable Haiti to join soon.

Cuba and EU cooperation is developing a new path too.

Fact sheet on the EU-CARIFORUM EPA

Financial support

In 2008-13, the European Development Fund (EDF) will provide €165m for the implementation of the Caribbean regional indicative programme :

  • regional economic integration and EPA implementation (€140 - €149m)
  • addressing specific regional vulnerabilities , social issues , natural-resource management and the environment (€16 - €25m).

Other sources of funding