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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — The head of the European Union Delegation to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean States and CARICOM, Daniela Tramacere is calling for closer collaboration between Europe and the region “to drive forward a common agenda in global and multilateral fora.

In a statement marking the 60th anniversary of the signature of the Rome Treaties on March 25, leading to a united Europe, the diplomat said the philosophy and values of CARICOM countries “closely mirror those of the European Union.

“Our partnership has grown stronger and stronger. Now it is high time for the EU and Caribbean countries to join forces more effectively to drive forward a common agenda in global and multilateral for a,’ she said.

Tramacere said since the birth of the European communities in 1957, EU citizens have enjoyed six decades of unprecedented peace, prosperity and security.

“The contrast to the first half of the 20th Century could not be greater. Two catastrophic wars in Europe between 1914 and 1945 left millions dead, and a continent devastated, divided and prostrate. For countries that had long been at war, European integration has been the most successful peace project in our history.”

But she noted that “we are living in unpredictable times and the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties is the opportunity not only to reaffirm our commitment to the values and objectives on which the European project is founded but also to take pragmatic and ambitious steps forward”.

Tramacere, who is also accredited to the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) said the world is going through a time of great uncertainty and that “the global balance of power is shifting and the foundations of a rules-based international order are too often being questioned.

“The European Union will be an increasingly vital power to preserve and strengthen the global order,” she said, noting that the EU is the second global economy.

“We are the largest global market and the leading foreign investor in most parts of the globe. The EU has achieved a strong position by acting together with one voice on the global stage, by playing a key role in removing barriers to trade as a member of the World Trade Organization, as well as concluding bilateral trade deals with many important partners around the world…”

She said the European Union invests more in development cooperation and humanitarian aid than the rest of the world combined and is also “increasingly active as a global security provider.

“The European Union is and will continue to be a strong, cooperative and reliable power. Our partners know what we stand for. We stand for multilateralism, for human rights, for international cooperation.

“We stand for sustainable development, inclusive societies, the fight against all inequalities – in education, in democracy and human rights. For us, this is not charity: it is also a smart investment in our own security and prosperity.”

Tramacere said that during the period 2014-2020 about 75 per cent of EU support will go to countries which are often hard hit by natural disasters or conflict, “something that makes their citizens particularly vulnerable.

“The EU is the only donor worldwide which gives support in all countries that are fragile or suffer from conflict,” she said, adding that it is also the world’s largest financial donor of development aid.

In outlining other initiatives of the EU on the global stage, the EU diplomat said that it would assist Caribbean countries as they deal with several issues the Sustainable Development Goals and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development.

“With the Caribbean countries and building on the experience of the high ambition coalition process that paved the way for the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change, we should now seek a new political partnership that on the objective of a multilateral rules-based order can address global challenges. We must do much more work in this direction together.”

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