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On 17 July 2018, the EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission Ms. Federica Mogherini and CARIFORUM Ministers of Foreign Affairs met in the margins of the 2nd CELAC-EU Ministerial Meeting held in Brussels. On behalf of CARIFORUM, the meeting was co-chaired by Honourable Sarah Flood Beaubrun, Minister, Department of External Affairs, and also chair of CARIFORUM. Assistant Secretary General Ambassador Colin Granderson was also in attendance as the representative of the Secretary General of CARIFORUM.
The meeting provided an opportunity to take stock of EU-Caribbean relations and discuss issues of major interest for both regions, recalling the continued relevance of priorities set out in the Joint Caribbean-EU Partnership Strategy. Both sides looked forward to the launch of negotiations between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) on the post-Cotonou agreement, took note of the respective negotiating mandates and underlined their commitment to a framework that allows for the further development of the joint partnership.
The two sides recalled the broader context of vulnerability to natural and man-made exogenous shocks faced by Small Island Developing States and low-lying territories in the Caribbean and reaffirmed their commitment towards strengthening the resilience of Caribbean societies. In this context, the EU announced a 74 million EUR support package to respond to the reconstruction efforts of countries (Cuba, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda) most affected by the hurricanes Irma and Maria, support long term resilience building as well as disaster risk reduction and preparedness through the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA). This response package is a direct follow-up of the pledge made by the EU at the UN-CARICOM pledging conference of November 2017.
Furthermore, the two sides agreed on the need for reinforced cooperation in multilateral fora in order to uphold shared values such as democracy, human rights, good governance, the rule of law, a rules-based multilateral trading system, and tackle common challenges including climate change, human security and sustainable development. They also undertook to intensify the bi-regional dialogue and agreed to still hold the EU-CARIFORUM political dialogue at the level of senior officials this year, and to explore opportunities for having a more regular and substantive dialogue at the level of Foreign Ministers.