BARBADOS' Statement On New OACPS-EU Partnership Agreement

BARBADOS' Statement On New OACPS-EU Partnership Agreement

The Following is a Statement by Barbados' Minister of State in Foreign Trade and Business, Sandra Husbands, on the European Union’s decision to sign and provisionally apply the new OACPS-EU Partnership Agreement – which is to be called the Samoa Agreement.

As recently communicated during the recently convened 116th Session of the OACPS Council of Ministers held in Brussels from July 19 to 20, 2023, Minister of State in Foreign Trade and Business, Sandra Husbands, who serves as Barbados’ representative on the Council, has lauded the European Union’s (EU’s) recent decision to sign and provisionally apply the new OACPS-EU Partnership Agreement – which is to be called the Samoa Agreement.

The Samoa Agreement establishes a fresh legal framework governing relations between the EU, its Member States, and the seventy-nine countries comprising the African, Caribbean and Pacific regions for the next twenty years, and will succeed the previous Cotonou Agreement.

On behalf of the Government and people of Barbados, Minister Husbands wishes to convey deep gratitude to the OACPS and EU Council Presidencies, Chief Negotiators, Ambassadors, Parliamentary Assemblies and the OACPS Secretariat, for their diligence and steadfastness in overcoming the impediments which hitherto hindered the signature of the Samoa Agreement.  As noted by the OACPS Secretary General His Excellency Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, this development constitutes a significant step in reinforcing the longstanding partnership and cooperation between OACPS and EU Member States.

It is envisioned that the necessary signatures should be completed before the expiration on October 31, 2023, of transitional measures which legally extended the provisions of the existing Cotonou Agreement.

 It should be noted that the partnership between the OACPS and the EU is the largest and most sophisticated North-South partnership and dates back to 1975.  The successive Lomé Conventions (1975-2000) and the Cotonou Agreement (2000-2020) have provided the legal basis for this arrangement.

The negotiations of a new OACPS-EU Partnership Agreement ended December 05, 2020, and was initialed on April 15, 2021.  The Agreement was to be signed in November 2021 in Apia, Samoa, to coincide with the regular meeting of the session of the Council of Ministers of the OACPS.  

However, there was a delay in its signature as a result of EU internal procedures, which require unanimity for entering into international agreements. Subsequently, the Agreement was duly extended to October 31, 2023, or until entry into force or provisional application of the Post Cotonou Agreement.

The Agreement comprises a General Part which is applicable to the EU and the OACPS and three Regional Protocols: one between the EU and each OACPS Region (Africa-EU; Caribbean-EU and Pacific-EU) – an approach that represents a significant deviation from the Cotonou Agreement.  

The overall objective of the OACPS-EU Partnership Agreement is to strengthen political partnerships to generate mutually beneficial outcomes on common and intersected areas of interest of the OACPS and the EU in accordance with their shared interest.

Overarching characteristics include shared responsibility, solidarity, reciprocity, mutual respect and accountability. The General Part of the Agreement reflects the broad principles and objectives to which the Parties subscribed and identifies strategic priorities for cooperation between the EU and the OACPS.  The Regional Protocols are tailored to each region’s needs and dynamics and are intended to build on the General Part.

With specificity to CARIFORUM States (CARICOM Member States and the Dominican Republic), €800 million programmable grant resources are specifically earmarked and reserved for the Caribbean.  This sum includes programmable Multi-Annual National Indicative Programmes (NIPs) for Belize, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica and Suriname and a programmable Caribbean Regional Multi-Annual Indicative Programme (MIP) 2021-2027.

For Barbados and the other CARIFORUM States which have been graduated from bilateral NIPs due to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita criteria, the MIP will however support bilateral and multi-country cooperation within countries, which do not benefit from full NIPs.  The MIP is stipulated at €208 million for three Caribbean-EU partnerships on three priority areas:

  1. Caribbean-EU Partnership for a Green Deal –
  2. EUROCLIMA Caribbean
  3. Disaster Risk Reduction
  4. Caribbean-EU Partnership for Economic Resilience and Trade –
  5. EU-LAC Digital Alliance
  6. Private Sector Development (Caribbean Export Development Agency)
  7. Regional Integration
  8. Trade and the Economic Partnership Agreement
  9. Business Environment
  10. Caribbean-EU Partnership for Governance, Security and Human Development –
  11. Public Finance Management
  12. Social Protection / Health (Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre)
  13. Regional Security Coordination

In addition to the three Partnership deals provided for in the MIPs for the Caribbean, provisions are made for cooperation facilities, including strategic communications, public diplomacy and policy dialogue.

Therefore, notwithstanding the lengthy delay, the Government of Barbados welcomes and eagerly anticipates the imminent signature of the Samoa Agreement, given longstanding partnership between the OACPS and the EU, which reinforces the importance of multilateralism and political, economic and development cooperation at the international level.


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