Prime Minister Philip Davis Urges EU to Finalize Post-Contonou Agreement at CELAC Summit, Highlights Need for New Financing Criteria and Climate Change Consideration

BRUSSELS, Belgium- Prime Minister Philip Davis addressed the 3rd CELAC Summit of Heads of State and Government in Brussels, Belgium, Monday urging the European Union to finalize the Post-Contonou Agreement, which would frame the terms of trade between Europe, the Caribbean and African Pacific States (ACP).

Prime Minister Davis, speaking in his capacity as the Chairman of CARIFORUM, told delegates that the agreement is vital to the advancement of Caribbean economies.

“It is unfortunate that we once again have to highlight the unsigned Post-Contonou Agreement,” Prime Minister Davis told delegates.

“This item has remained outstanding since 2021 and is now in its fifth extension. It must be noted that bilateral and regional trade agreements are key drivers for growth and diversification strategies in both the European and Caribbean regions and act as catalysts for sustainable and inclusive development. Failure to complete the Post- Contonou Agreement hinders our collective growth,” Prime Minister Davis added.

Prime Minister Davis also reiterated his appeal for a system that does not rely on per capita income to determine access to financing.

“We will continue to strongly advocate for the acceptance and use of the Multi-Dimensional Vulnerability Index, as we can no longer depend on sustainable policies when we experience crises and external shocks,” Prime Minister Davis said.

“In this vein, we call on the European Union, which sits in fora where Caribbean countries do, not to encourage the expansion of policies based on this index, which we believe would better prepare us to secure a more sustainable future,” he added.

On the issue of climate change, Prime Minister Davis also lamented what he says appears to be the “discriminatory perceptions” that guide decisions linked to blacklisting. He noted that the largely Caribbean countries are Small Island Developing States, Black-led nations and former colonies of European States.

Prime Minister Davis also insisted that collective action is the preferred option for continued dialogue between the European Union and CARIFORUM.

This 3rd CELAC EU Summit of Heads of State and Government is the first to take place since 2018.