jlkEuropean Union (EU) Head of Delegation to Jamaica Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska says she is confident that with the departure of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union, the partnership with Jamaica will not be affected.
“The relationship between the EU and Jamaica spans more than 40 years and has withstood all major global and political changes over the period to emerge even stronger,” Wasilewska said in response to questions from The Gleaner.
The EU, she mentioned, shares common fundamental values with the UK and Jamaica on democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and those will not suffer as a result of the withdrawal.
Wasilewska stated that with the withdrawal, the EU will seek complementarities and continued partnership with Theresa May’s UK government on how best to assist Jamaica in achieving its development goals embodied in the Vision 2030 National Development Plan.
“It is also an opportunity for Jamaica to develop an even closer relationship with the remaining 27 nations that will make up the European Union,” she said.
The current pursuit of the post-Cotonou arrangements, according to her, is also an example of the commitment of the EU to strengthening the relationship with Jamaica.
Wasilewska, who also serves as delegation head to Belize, Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Cayman Islands, explained that the long-standing relationship between EU member countries and Jamaica will not suffer when Britain actually leaves the Union as each member has its own interest.
“Each member state that makes up the EU has its own individual interests which they pursue as sovereign states on a bilateral basis on areas such as trade and investment,” she noted.
Development cooperation involving the EU represents the combined interest of all 28 EU members. For Jamaica, currently, those interests revolve around justice, public financial management, and the environment, which fall under the 11th European Development Fund (2014-2020).
“Support in those areas amounts to over €66 million, further establishing the EU as the largest provider of grant assistance to Jamaica. The EU is a friend and partner of Jamaica, and our relationship can only grow stronger,” Wasilewska said.
The UK has been the third- or fourth-largest contributing country to the EU budget in recent years.