On behalf of Dr. the Honourable Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and the Government and People of Trinidad and Tobago, I bring warmest greetings to the Governments and Peoples of the European Union on this celebratory occasion to mark Europe Day 2019.
It is no secret that the experience of the European Union and its Member States has provided a model of how cooperation in common areas of interest can be achieved among sovereign states. In our own regional integration process in the Caribbean Community, this regional integration process has been an invaluable asset to its Member States as it facilitates the pooling of resources in support of joint action, to allow Member States to address common challenges which may otherwise exceed the capabilities of individual Member States. Trinidad and Tobago is therefore appreciative of the support provided by the European Union to our regional integration and cooperation process as well as its support in the thematic areas of Crime and Security and Climate Change and Natural Disasters.
Your Excellency, I note that you have been quite busy in recent months, providing support in both these thematic areas in Trinidad and Tobago as well. Support provided through your office to the Trinidad and Tobago Extractive Industries Transparency Institute and the Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute to build public awareness on the importance of Beneficial Ownership Disclosure; Vision on Mission for its Prisoner Pre-Release and Resettlement Programme to assist in the reintegration of offenders as productive members of society; and the Life After Today public education campaign to mitigate crime and violence among the youth by encouraging the adoption of positive lifestyles, all contribute in a tangible way to building social capital and awareness which can only serve to underpin the efforts of Government in these areas.
Of particular interest, Ambassador Biesebroek, is the Climate Change Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment Report for Trinidad and Tobago, presented to the Honourable Camille Robinson-Regis, Minister of Planning and Development last month, which identified vulnerabilities to Trinidad and Tobago’s Coastal Resources; Agriculture and Food Security; Water Resources; Human Health; Biodiversity; Infrastructure and Human Settlements; and Financial Sector, arising from the likely impact of climate change. These vulnerabilities, if the report’s assessments are borne out, would not only undermine our capacity to deliver on the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals but may also undermine our capacity to maintain the level of development we currently enjoy.
The European Union has long been and continues to be a key trade, investment and development partner for Trinidad and Tobago. The current ACP-EU Cotonou Partnership Agreement, which provides the framework for this relationship and comes to an end in 2020, was originally signed in the year 2000. Since then, the world has changed, as has Europe, and there is now a greater sense of uncertainty in Europe and the international system. In these times, the company of dependable and reliable partners are increasingly important and necessary and Trinidad and Tobago is keen to ensure that our relationship with the European Union continues to prosper in the years ahead.
Your Excellency, as I close, I take this opportunity to recognise the work of your office over the past year in deepening the constructive and beneficial relationship between Trinidad and Tobago and the European Union. I wish you, your staff and the European Union best wishes and continued success as we continue to pursue peace and prosperity for our Peoples.
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