Jamaica and the European Union (EU) continue to collaborate on critical global, regional, and national issues that are also linked to achieving sustainable development.
Matters, including security, human rights, EU blacklisting, environment and climate change were discussed during the sixth Jamaica-EU Political Dialogue, held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, today (July 20).
Portfolio Minister, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, in her remarks said that within the context of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), examining Jamaica’s trade with the EU is also a critical area.
“Trade has been identified as one of our paths to growth as a small open economy, and the EPA is one of our principal trade agreements – in the context of the goals of our broader development partnership. We believe it is important for us to work together to ensure the EPA delivers on its promise,” she argued.
The Minister said that Jamaica remains “hopeful that its EU partners will adopt measures to facilitate the movement of cultural practitioners, athletes and other service providers within the EU,” through its visa regime.
“We refer, in particular, to the longstanding proposal for a special visa regime, and specifically, to the promise of a ‘touring visa’. We also will be re-engaging formally on the matter of a direct visa waiver,” she said.
Meanwhile, co-Head of the EU Delegation, Javier Niño Pérez, said the EU’s engagement with Jamaica “is also to be seen as part of a broader engagement with the region”.
“This is, by far, in our view, the most ‘Euro-compatible’ region in the world. When it comes to facing the challenges of the 21st century, whether this is a green transition [or] the need to reinforce the principles of multiculturalism, we [can] not do this alone and we want to do this with Latin America and the Caribbean,” he said.
Between 2000 and 2020, EU development funding to Jamaica amounted to €493.3 million, which has been directed towards the agricultural sector, justice, climate change, public financial management and the health sector.
The EU also provided support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic by providing ventilators, vaccines, as well as other medical supplies and equipment.