Religious Intelligence | Monday, 8th September 2008
Caribbean leaders urged to reject EU treaty
By: George Conger.
Church leaders in the Caribbean have urged regional governments to reject the Economic Partnership Agreement proposed by the European Union, saying the terms of the treaty would harm the economy, marginalize the poor, and undermine the Caribbean’s democratic institutions.
Writing to the heads of the CARICOM [Caribbean Community] governments last month, the Caribbean Conference of Churches (CCC) said the proposed treaty was flawed. “A substantial body of credible evidence now exists that calls into question not only specific aspects of the content of the CARIFORUM - EC Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), but also critical omissions there from.”
On Aug 25 the CCC General Secretary Gerard Granado argued that a “united approach to economic, political and functional relations intra-regionally and internationally would best serve” the Caribbean.
He stated that as the Caribbean nations were considering “concluding a definitive comprehensive trade agreement” with the “powerful European Union as a collective,” it was important to keep in mind the need for “co-operation, consultation, and coordinated action” by the smaller nations when dealing with the EU.
“While recognising that the imperatives of today’s global trading environment require the revision of traditional trading arrangements, and while it is true that sections of the agreement may indeed yield benefits for some, it is the greater potentially detrimental impact on the wider society, especially the most vulnerable, that ought to be of particular concern,” Mr Granado said.
He urged the CARICOM governments to honour the request of Barbados Prime Minister David Thompson and call an “urgent special meeting of the heads of government” to rethink trade relations with the EU.