Jamaica Observer / STEFANO Manservisi, director-general for International Cooperation and Development in the European Commission, based in Brussels, is leading a high-level European Union team to Jamaica, starting today. Foreign Minister Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, in a release yesterday, said Manservisi will lead the high-level delegation to Kingston from February 1 to 2 for regional and bilateral talks with several high-level government representatives from Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.
“Mr Manservisi’s visit comes at an important juncture, especially as we prepare for a new chapter in the rich history of development cooperation between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group, of which Jamaica is a founding member,” she said.
Jamaica recently held the chair of the CARIFORUM group within the ACP and is scheduled to assume the presidency of the ACP during the period February 1 to to July 31, 2018.
During the visit, Manservisi will meet with Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Senator Johnson Smith, Minster of Justice Delroy Chuck and Minister of Finance Audley Shaw. These meetings, the statement said, will address aspects of the EU/Caribbean/Jamaica relationship, the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) as well as cooperation in the areas of security, justice and energy. He will also hold meetings with representatives of EU Member States and with development partners.
A highlight of the visit will be the grant financing signing ceremony involving the IDB and the Government of Jamaica. The grant will support a multimillion-dollar energy management and efficiency programme.
Today, Manservisi will deliver a public lecture entitled: The EU and the Caribbean: a proposal for a modern partnership beyond 2020 at the University of the West Indies. He will also tour sections of downtown Kingston, including the Ward Theatre and Justice Square.
Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, head of the EU Delegation in Jamaica, meanwhile, has underscored that “having a strong EU-CARIFORUM relationship is crucial for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly for Small Island Developing States”. The visit, said the ambassador, is designed to demonstrate the valuable outputs of the very successful partnership with Jamaica across multiple sectors.
Manservisi’s visit is the first to Jamaica by a high-level EU representative in 11 years.
The European Union, comprising 28 member states, is the world’s largest grant donor. Between 2014 and 2020, the EU is committed to providing euro 46 million to Jamaica. The EU’s priorities in the Caribbean are citizen security, protecting the environment, curbing climate change, health with special emphasis on improving maternal and child health and improving the management of public finances.