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Grenada has had a formal relationship with the European Union (then the European Economic Community) since 1975. As a former British colony, which became independent in 1974, it was the entry into the EEC by Britain in 1973 which offered Grenada and other Commonwealth countries in Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) the possibility of negotiating their future relations with the EU.
The overall aim of EU co-operation is to improve the quality of life of the populations in the beneficiary countries through targeted and sustainable programmes. In 2014 the EU Delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, which covers Grenada, disbursed just over EUR 80 million euros in development co-operation aid amongst the ten countries it is accredited to in the region.
Historically EU-ACP co-operation has been underpinned by four Lome agreements and now the Cotonou Agreement signed in 2000, through which the European Development Fund (EDF) provides grant aid towards development projects and programmes. The European Commission manages the funds and jointly implements the projects.
Today the EU is Grenada's largest grant aid partner for development. The present EU 11th EDF intervention in Grenada focuses on the Health Sector and has a financial envelope of EUR 3.8 million. An amount of EUR 200,000 has been set aside to support civil society organisations, specifically the Non-State Actors (NSA) Advisory Panel, which is actively involved in all aspects of our cooperation from programme formulation to implementation. This allocation may also be used to finance actions linked to cross cutting issues.
A significant portion of EU grant aid to Grenada has, in the past, gone towards improvement of the water infrastructure. One project entailed upgrading the quality, quantity and reliability of the water supply in the southern Grenada area. Another, the Peggy Whim Project, addressed improving water distribution in the parishes of St. Patricks and parts of St. Andrew. Whilst a third provided 34 kilometres of pipeline in select areas that resulted in reduced water loss and increased reliability of supply to customers. In addition seven critical water treatment plants were upgraded resulting in all of these plants consistently producing water which meets World Health Organisation standards.
Other projects and programmes supported by the EU in Grenada include investment promotion and business facilitation, trade facilitation, small and medium enterprise development, and establishment of a business gateway with the Grenada Industrial Development Corporation.
As a response to the present global financial crisis the country has benefitted from EUR 8.79 million of grants from the Vulnerability FLEX mechanism which was the European Union's swift response to help countries which were the most affected due to their poor resilience to external shocks.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) also helps to implement the EU’s cooperation and development policies outside the EU and has made loans available to Grenada. EIB lending has been utilised in the country in the construction of a locally-owned resort and the investment programme of the Grenada Electricity Services Ltd. In addition, credit lines have been provided to the Grenada Development Bank for the financing of small and medium scale enterprises in the private sector.
The EU’s Humanitarian Aid Department - ECHO - has also provided €3 million in emergency and post emergency aid to assist with the country’s rehabilitation following the passage of Hurricane Ivan. Outside of the ECHO intervention the EU also provided €9.3 million for school rehabilitation following widespread damage of educational institutions during the hurricane.
The EU is placing increasing emphasis on climate change, alternative energy and food security as well as mainstreaming issues such as environmental protection, gender and governance in its development co-operation. The EU is committed to the promotion of Human Rights, the rule of law and democracy worldwide. The European Union Delegation continues to work closely with all stakeholders in Grenada and has assisted with the establishment of the Non-state Actors Panel which is actively involved in all aspects of our cooperation from programme formulation to implementation.
As it pertains to the Regional dimension Grenada and the EU conduct relations not only at bilateral level, but within the framework of several regional groupings and other fora.
The European Union, in seeking a partnership for growth, stability and development with the Caribbean, supports the ongoing process of regional integration within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). As a member of CARICOM, Grenada is deeply involved in the policy dialogue between the EU and CARICOM and benefits from the resources made available under the EU Strategy for the Caribbean. Grenada also benefits from its participation in the EU-Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) summits that take place bi-annually. Heads of State and Government of the EU and the Latin America and the Caribbean countries met in June 2015 for the 7th EU-LAC Summit.