Cayman hosts EU forum

| 28/11/2008

(CNS): Officials of European Union (EU)-affiliated Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) and the European Commission (EC) will be revealing some the details of the annual OCTA Ministerial Meeting and OCT EU Forum held here in the Cayman Islands later today, at a press conference to mark the end of the talks The LoGB said the meeting had offered an opportunity for Cayman to improve relations with the European Union.

The meeting which brought together officials for high-level discussion of issues of mutual interest started on Wednesday 26 November and ahs reportedly focused on the future of EU-OCT relations in the context of a Green Paper recently published by the EC. The Cayman Islands are hosting the conference as the current chair of the OCT Association. Welcoming delegates to the three-day event, Leader of Government Business,. Kurt Tibbetts said the Cayman was looking forward to improving what is already a good relationship with the EU. "We certainly believe that there are opportunities for greater cooperation that could further assist our development.”

Other issues down for discussion relate to competitiveness, trade, regional integration, capacity building, and financing for development in the OCTs under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) programme. “The Cayman Islands benefit substantially from EU aid programmes which are regional in scope and shared with other nearby OCTs,” Tibbetts added, referring to regional weather radar to be located here. This project is intended to reduce disaster risk and improve early warning information on adverse weather conditions in the region.

The Cayman Islands directly received EU aid for the first time following the devastation caused by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. This assistance greatly supported the recovery and reconstructioneffort. Two EU officials were also scheduled to visit Cayman Brac on Wednesday to see first-hand the extent of damage caused by Hurricane Paloma earlier this month. Tibbetts, Education Minister, Alden McLaughlin, and Financial Secretary, Kenneth Jefferson, are the Cayman Islands’ representatives at the conference. Visiting representatives includes Heads of Government, the Commission’s Directorate General for Development  Stefano Manservisi, Head of the Commission’s Sector for Overseas Countries and Territories, in addition to the representatives and officials of OCT Governments, the UK, France, Denmark and the Netherlands.           


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