February 27, 2021

Eastern Caribbean countries and Spain agree to improve cooperation



The countries of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), based in Saint Lucia, agreed to work on the objective of improving cooperation with the Government of Spain, according to what the regional group reported on Monday.

The OECS, currently under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, undertook with the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arancha González, to work on improving cooperation on matters of common interest, after a meeting held telematically.

In a statement, the OECS details that both parties discussed the strategies that are being deployed to respond to the health and economic crisis caused by COVID-19, in addition to agreeing to strengthen dialogue in other areas of cooperation.

One of the key results of the meeting was the agreement to establish a framework for dialogue that explores ways to strengthen the bilateral relationship between the OECS and the Government of Spain.

CONCERN ABOUT LACK OF ACCESS TO FUNDS

The OECS expressed concern about the lack of access to cooperative aid funds because some OECS member states are classified as high-income countries.

The Caribbean organization also expressed concern that member states continue to face the threat of being blacklisted in the European Union for countries with poorly transparent banking systems.

The OECS called for greater sensitivity to the issues facing small island developing states, particularly with regard to climate-related threats.

THANKS TO SPAIN THE WILL TO CLOSE TIES

Browne appreciated Spain’s willingness to work closely with the OECS on matters of common interest.

“The COVID-19 crisis has once again exposed the vulnerability of OECS member states. Not having access to cooperation funds only serves to complicate our ability to respond to this threat,” Browne said of the impossibility of This group of countries benefit from aid against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus destined for low-income countries.

Browne noted that, for the most part, only financial instruments are available in the medium term, noting that long-term financial aid with more attractive interests is needed.

“The OECS expresses its full solidarity with the Government and the people of Spain when facing the COVID-19 pandemic and agreed to take concrete measures to strengthen bilateral ties between the two parties,” the statement concluded.

THE OECS BENEFITS FROM THE SPANISH EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM

OECS member countries have benefited in recent years from a language program organized by the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AECID), attached to the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.

The agreement aims for Spain to contribute with a Spanish language training plan for OECS officials, with the aim of improving the relationship between the regional organization and Ibero-America.

The OECS is made up of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Granada, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Granada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla and Martinique.

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