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ON THE LEFT: Need to enhance relations


EUROPEAN COMMISSION

ON THE LEFT: Need to enhance relations

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THE EUROPEAN UNION (EU) and the Caribbean share a long history, culture and a broad base of common values. Through its outermost regions, associated overseas countries and territories, the EU is also physically part of the Caribbean.

Caribbean countries share a number of EU political objectives and face a number of challenges which the EU has an interest in addressing (such as climate change, crime and other security challenges, environmental preservation), some of which offer opportunities for market access (for example, sustainable energy).

The Caribbean is a stable region where most countries feature well-functioning democracies, although good governance and the respect of human rights are uneven.

Protection and promotion of human rights and democratic practices is key for the region’s stability and prosperity. It is also important in view of the number of associated overseas countries and territories and of the EU outermost regions.

The Caribbean is also located geographically on the drug routes to North America and Europe. The fight against transnational crime and terrorism financing, tax avoidance and money laundering practices and the need for increased financial transparency are key challenges for both regions.

Specific objectives include:

• Making further progress on regional integration and cooperation initiatives and policies, including the development of infrastructure networks and interconnectivity to facilitate intra-regional and international trade and mobility.

• Prioritising job creation and harnessing private sector investment by creating a favourable business environment.

• Enhancing regional integration and international competitiveness.

• Promoting corporate social responsibility and best business practices, including digitalisation, and supporting the development of small- and medium-sized enterprises, including in the social and solidarity economy.

• Promoting the effective implementation of the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement, in order for economic operators to reap the full benefits offered by the agreement.

• Strengthening wider regional and south-south initiatives with Latin America and with the EU outermost regions and associated overseas countries and territories in order to facilitate closer hemispheric cooperation and trade.

Human development indicators have improved in most Caribbean countries over the last decades. Despite these positive developments, extreme poverty persists in Caribbean countries. This is linked to extreme social and economic inequalities.

Specific objectives include:

• Undertaking efforts at all levels to eradicate poverty, tackle inequalities and promote decent work for all.

• Promoting access for all to quality health care and social services, including universal health coverage, increased cooperation in the area of education, life-long learning, and workforce training with a view to developing adequate skills for the labour market and preventing brain drain.

• Improving food security and nutrition and promoting sustainable value-added agriculture and agro-industry, with a focus on small farmers, as a way to diversify Caribbean economies and prevent small producers from losing their livelihoods.

The European Commission is an institution of the European Union responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the EU treaties and managing the day-to-day business of the EU.

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