European Union (EU) Ambassador to The OECS Presents Credentials
Castries, 30th May, 2013 — His Excellency Mr. Mikael Barfod, Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean on Tuesday became the first Ambassador of the EU to the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) when he presented credentials to the Director General of the OECS, Dr Len Ishmael.
The Director General warmly welcomed the EU Ambassador to the OECS Secretariat, making special mention of the longstanding relationship between Europe and the Eastern Caribbean., as well as the European Union and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean states. She affirmed that: “…the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two organisations is a crucial step in the history of our partnership, because today, we are responding in a bold, genuine and practical way to the demands of the time by entering deliberately into a new relationship, very much in the nature of a paradigm shift – a relationship which will by definition determine the nature and thrust of a new engagement, while at the same time serving as a platform for action based on a real and meaningful partnership between friends.” Dr. Ishmael also recalled some of the major contributions made by the European Union towards the development of the region in key areas such as health, tourism, agriculture and trade.
In response, the Ambassador of the European Union called attention to the unique relationship existing between the European Union and the OECS, and affirmed his commitment to further enhance the relationship between the two organisations. In highlighting the European Union’s commitment towards the development of the OECS, he stated that: “…Various projects totaling 23.6 million Euros since March 2012 have contributed to the excellent relations between the European Union and the OECS, which I hope to maintain and strengthen.” The Ambassador also pointed to the tremendous achievements of the OECS in integration, and congratulated the Organisation on its efforts to efficiently insert the region in the global economy
Both the Director General and the Ambassador of the European Union noted the strong commonalities between the European Union and the OECS, especially with regard to the mutual objectives of unity and social and economic progress, as well as the shared values of democracy, inclusiveness, human rights, and the rule of law. They both agreed that the new and deepened partnership will serve to strengthen even further, the cooperation between their respective Organisations, leading to a positive impact on the development and well-being of their Member States.