Barbados has had a formal relationship with the European Union (then the European Economic Community) since July 1976 when a Delegation office was first established.
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As a former British colony, which became independent in 1966, it was the entry into the EEC by the United Kingdom in 1973 which offered Barbados 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 disbursed just over EUR 80 million in development co-operation aid amongst the ten countries it is accredited to in the region.
The EU is Barbados' largest grant aid partner for development. The EU provides in excess of 65% of Official Development Assistance to Barbados. The EU–Barbados development cooperation portfolio has grown significantly in recent years, primarily due to the allocation of significant funds from the Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol Countries (AMSP). The current portfolio is approximately EUR 75 million and will be invested in building capacity through the Human Resource Development Programme.
There is also EUR 5 million support for a national renewable energy initiative. With regards to Barbados' national renewable energy initiative, in November 2013, the Government signed the BBD$50 million Public Sector Smart Energy programme with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the European Union (EU).
The co-operation has been underpinned by four Lome agreements and now the Cotonou Agreement signed in 2000. The European Development Fund (EDF) is the main instrument by which the EU provides development aid to Barbados. EDF funds are programmed in 5-year cycles. Under the co-operation the European Commission manages the funds and jointly implements the programmes.
Another feature of the partnership allows Barbados' sugar to access the EU market, duty-free quota-free. The grant aid provided by the EU to Barbados does not include bilateral cooperation by EU Member States or support under the Caribbean Regional Indicative Programme (CRIP).
The programming framework to facilitate Barbados-EU cooperation for the period 2014 to 2020 is articulated in the 11th EDF National Indicative Programme. Renewable Energy and Energy efficiency has been identified as the priority area, with EUR 3 million provided towards the intervention.
The EU's is also supporting the efforts of Barbados to recover from the effects of recent global economic and financial crises, restore macro-economic stability, and achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Linkages between the National Indicative Programme and CARIFORUM regional programmes will be sought, as will the opportunity to leverage further funds for development interventions; one opportunity for this being the Caribbean Investment Facility (CIF). The EU support complements, and is based on, the analysis and projections of the Barbados National Strategic Plan (NSP) 2006-2025 "Global Excellence, Barbadian Traditions".
An amount of EUR 150,000 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.
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 Investment Bank (EIB) also helps to implement the EU’s cooperation and development policies outside the EU and has lent important lines of credit to Barbados. The EIB provides loans directly to the private sector for commercially viable projects. Such loans to Barbados in the past have supported projects in the fields of energy (The Barbados Light & Power Company), Transport (Barbados Airport Development), South Coast Sewage Project and the Barbados Port Authority (Sea Transport).
As it pertains to the regional dimension Barbados 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, Barbados 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. Barbados 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.
Barbados and the EU conduct relations not only at bilateral level but within the framework of several regional groupings.
The EU and the Caribbean have a long standing and strong partnership that is based on history and shared values. It is facilitated by the fact that for the EU, Caribbean countries generally have very stable democracies and are of strategic geographic importance as the main gateway to the Americas. For the Caribbean, the EU has been and still remains a reliable development partner, whose support has buttressed the region's pursuit of sustainable development. Furthermore, the EU's economic and technical achievements coupled with its successful experience with regional integration are emblematic of the development ambitions of the Caribbean. Coupled with these the Caribbean region also has the greatest number of European Overseas Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories.
The partnership has been built on over 30 years of co-operation experience, culminating at present with the Cotonou Agreement, which runs until 2020.
The Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) is a sub-group of African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States which serves as a base for economic dialogue with the European Union. Established in 1992, its membership comprises the 15 Caribbean Community States, along with the Dominican Republic.
The 11th European Development Fund Regional Indicative Programme (RIP) of CARIFORUM is financed through an allocation of €346 million over a six year period from 2014-2020. The RIP is anchored in one focal sector 'Regional Integration and Co-operation'. The areas of intervention are support to private sector development, investment facilitation, external trade capacity, along with further implementation of the EU-CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement. Regional resilience to the impact of climate change is to be addressed, as well as mitigating the impact of natural disasters, which can affect social and economic development.
The objective of the EU-CARIFORUM relationship is a strong mutually beneficial partnership on the international scene within which the two sides will work together towards the shared ideals of democracy and human rights and in the fight against poverty and global threats to peace, security and stability. This includes also supporting those Caribbean countries aiming to become developed states by 2020.
The European Union, in seeking a partnership for growth, stability and development with the Caribbean, supports the ongoing process of regional integration. Barbados, as member of the CARICOM Community, 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. Barbados is also among the countries that participate in the EU-Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) summits that take place bi-annually.
The Caribbean also benefits from bilateral relations with many European Union Member States which have strong links with the region. The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) is among one of the most active development partners in the region. A number of Caribbean countries such as Dominica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, St Lucia, Suriname and Cuba are benefiting from specific French development aid instruments. The Federal Government of Germany is another important player in the region placing emphasis on poverty reduction, environmental and resource protection and modernisation of the government and society. The Netherlands has also made contributions in the region, notably in Suriname where bi-lateral development ties date back to 1975. Spain is also active in development cooperation with the Caribbean both at bi-lateral and regional levels.
Previous EU regional intervention has contributed towards the establishment of the Caribbean Court of Justice, the Caribbean Regional Development Fund, Caribbean Export among others.
The economic situation of Barbados and the Member States of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) has been very difficult over the last two years. The global economic and financial crises have caused reductions in tourism revenues, which remain the primary source of income for most of these countries. There have also been heavy constraints from the collapse of international markets and limited fiscal space in highly indebted environments. This has been further compounded with the high food and energy import bills as these countries remain net importers of food and energy.
The resulting decline in exports is reflected in the bilateral trade figures between 2005-2009 between these countries and the EU. However, the preliminary 2010 figures (January-July) in some cases show a rebound.
Barbados and the OECS countries were among the 15 CARIFORUM Member States to sign the CARIFORM-EC Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) on 15 October 2008. Although it is clear that the Agreement is of an asymmetrical nature there has been little to no progress on EPA implementation in general within these countries due primarily to capacity constraints.
The value of trade between Barbados and the EU has declined since 2007. In 2009, the value of trade in goods between the EU and Barbados was €145.2 million down from €243 million in 2007and €206.2 in 2008. Barbados ranked 150 in terms of the total import of goods to the EU in 2009, and 144 for the equivalent total export of goods from the EU. The value of exported goods from Barbados to the EU has progressively decreased from a high of €110.6 million in 2005 to €40.6 million in 2007 and €35.9 million in 2009. Imported goods from the EU into Barbados also declined from a peak in 2007 of €202.4 million to €109.3 million in 2009.
In 2009, sugar accounted for 44% of exports from Barbados to the EU, with electrical machinery and other transport equipment making up 18.6%, and rum accounting for 13.5%. In terms of imports from the EU into Barbados during the same period, 27.6% were machinery and equipment, 16.75% - manufactured goods, 15.4% - fruits, vegetables and other food products, 15.3% - chemicals, and another 12.9% was manufactured goods.
In 2009, EU (27) received 13.7% of the total merchandise exports from Barbados, making it the second highest ranking destination of goods from Barbados behind the Netherland United States. In terms of being an origin of imports into Barbados, the EU (27) ranked third (after the United States and Trinidad and Tobago), supplying 13.1% of total imports.
The European Development Fund (EDF) is the main instrument by which the EU provides development aid in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states and the Overseas Countries and Territories under the Cotonou Agreement.
Established in 1958, the EDF is funded by contributions from EU Member States, is subject to its own financial rules and is managed by a specific committee. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that it is independent of the European Union's general budget and is managed by the European Commission, with the European Parliament granting the discharge. It is implemented jointly with the beneficiary countries via specific co-management mechanisms. EDF funds are programmed in 5-year cycles using Country Strategy Papers (CSP) as guidelines. Eastern Caribbean countries also benefit from substantial levels of funding through specific financial instruments related to particular industries (bananas, sugar, rum).
Past EDF funding to Barbados has gone towards financing the construction of the Barabados Community College Language Centre, equipping the Forensic Science Laboratory, construction of the Hospitality Institute (Pommarine), Upgrading of fishing facilities at Consett Bay and Skeete's Bay, upgrade of the Barbados Health Sector among others.
Barbados' EDF support does not include bilateral co-operation by EU Member States, support under the regional programme, or previous concessions granted under the trade preferences and protocols.
The European Commission together with Barbados and Eastern Caribbean countries have completed the programming of the 10th EDF National Indicative Programmes (2008-2013). Budget support is one of the delivery mechanisms for EU support, with grant aid funds being placed into government's budget to support its general fiscal policy or a designated sector of the economy, instead of being allocated to specific activities or projects. Barbados has been allocated €9.75 in programmable resources under the 10th EDF where the focal sector is Human Resource Development.
The European Commission is also jointly working with CARIFORUM on the implementation of the 10th EDF Caribbean Regional Indicative Programme which has been allocated €165 million. This includes a specific allocation to support OECS integration such as the implementation of their new Economic Union Treaty.
The EU-ACP (African Caribbean and Pacific) Cotonou agreement defines NSAs as those players from the private sector, economic and social partners and civil society. A common feature lies in their independence from the state and the voluntary basis upon which they have come together to act and promote common interests. Examples are trade unions, employers organisations, non governmental organisations (NGOs), community based organisations (CBOs), faith based organisations (FBOs), business organisations, gender groups and local authorities.
One of the great innovations of the Cotonou Agreement, lies in the legal and political recognition of the complementary role played by civil society, the private sector and decentralised local communities in the cooperation processes with national partners.
Since 2005, the EU Delegation and its national partners have started the preparatory work in the establishment of NSA Advisory Panels in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
In each country, they undertook a mapping of the NSA playing field looking into the feasibility of NSA participation. Additionally, a capacity needs assessment was conducted in Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines as capacity building was seen as critical to ensure that the NSA sector became a viable partner in the national development process and in dialogue with the EU. In this way, the EU aims at enhancing stronger involvement of civil society in its national partnerships in the Eastern Caribbean. Since 2006, at different pace, all panels have been launched and formally recognised through a Memorandum of Understanding between the respective Government and the EU Delegation. Every two years, the panels are renewed through the updating of their Cooperation Protocol.
Non-State Actor Advisory Panels in the Eastern Caribbean are non-partisan bodies comprising some 8-13 organisations representative of the civil society.
In general, the functions of the NSA advisory panels are to:
Certain provisions ensure rotation in the membership of the Panels. A modest financial allocation is available to cover the running costs of the Panels, in the form of Programme Estimates. Support may be given through the NSA panels for capacity building of civil society organisations.
The European Union (EU) is the largest donor of humanitarian aid in the world. The European Commission in Brussels, together with the 27 EU Member States fund more than half of the world’s humanitarian aid work.
Established in 1992, the European Commission Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) is responsible for funding humanitarian work throughout the world. Its task is to ensure goods and services get to crisis zones fast. Goods may include essential supplies, specific foodstuffs, medical equipment, medicines and fuel, while services may include medical teams, water purification teams and logistical support. This humanitarian aid is provided to victims of crises on a needs basis, regardless of their race, religion or political affiliations.
In 2010 the EU's response to new or protracted crises totaled €1115 million and consisted in providing humanitarian assistance to about 115 million people in 80 non-EU countries of which 39 countries were designated as being in a situation of crisis. Of the total assistance provided in 2010 an estimated 44% was for natural disasters, 41% for protracted crises and 15% for ad hoc crises and interventions.
The European Commission’s humanitarian support works through 200 partners such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); United Nations humanitarian agencies such as the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as well as NGOs.
To boost its presence in the field, ECHO has established regional offices. The regional office for Latin America and the Caribbean is located in Managua, Nicaragua. Although ECHO has been working in the Caribbean region since 1995 it was in 1998 that a Caribbean office was opened in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic which today covers 22 territories and overseas countries.
ECHO's intervention in the Caribbean include assistance to:
ECHO also responded to the humanitarian needs caused by the socio-political crisis in Haiti. This aid included provision of emergency surgical assistance, distribution of water and the completion of nutritional surveys. Between 2004 and 2007, the amount of aid provided to Haiti was €12 million.
ECHO, also funds disaster preparedness and mitigation projects in regions prone to natural disasters. In the Caribbean the DIPECHO (Disaster Preparedness ECHO) programme aims to reduce vulnerability by working with the most at-risk communities to improve their disaster preparedness. Projects which are funded include training; awareness activities; preparation of risk maps, emergency plans and other tools at community level, such as early warning systems and small mitigation projects. The DIPECHO projects are implemented by ECHO’s partners in the region such as the Caribbean Emergency Management Agency.