EU an integral partner for Guyana’s development – PM Phillips

Prime Minister Mark Phillips and his wife with EU Ambassador Ambassador Rene van Nes and his wife at the Europe Day reception in Georgetown

Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d), the Honourable Mark Phillips, underscored that the European Union is an integral partner for Guyana’s development across the economic, environmental, and security spheres.

He said that the partnership is rooted in shared democratic values and cooperation.

The Prime Minister made these remarks on Thursday evening at a reception commemorating Europe Day 2024 at the Herdmanston Lodge.

He highlighted Guyana’s commitment to deepening cooperation with the European Union on critical issues like climate change and security and lauded the EU as “one of the world’s foremost integration movements, fostering the goals of cooperation and peace among its member states.”

In his remarks, the Prime Minister applauded the EU for its integral role as “a global leader in addressing climate change and promoting sustainable environmental policies” and expressed Guyana’s appreciation for the EU’s financial and technical support aimed at boosting the country’s climate adaptation.

“Guyana is championing carbon neutrality. We have benefitted significantly from the issuance of funds from the EU in support of our climate change adaptation capacity, which is spearheaded under the Integrated Coastal Management Programme.”

In noting the shared priorities between Guyana and the EU in mitigating climate impacts and fostering sustainable development, Prime Minister Phillips welcomed the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding, making Guyana one of five countries to partner with the EU on forest protection as part of the European Green Deal. This collaboration reflects the shared commitment to environmental sustainability and underscores the importance of international cooperation in tackling this critical issue.

“The relationship between Guyana and the European Union is predicated on the respect for democracy, human rights, the environment and the promotion of sustainable development. Our cooperation and collaboration over the years have advanced across many sectors, resulting in beneficial cooperation in areas including trade and investment, forestry, coastal zone management, and health. The European Union is an important trading partner and a valued source of foreign direct investment.”

Additionally, he commended the EU’s commitment to transparent and credible electoral processes, which he said reflects its “broader dedication to democratic values, human rights, the rule of law, good governance and the promotion of inclusive and participatory political systems.”

He also noted Guyana’s continued invitation to EU electoral observer missions as evidence of the country’s commitment to democracy.

On security cooperation, PM Phillips stated that Guyana looks forward to implementing initiatives for technical exchanges and developing a common security strategy with European partners.

The Prime Minister reiterated Guyana’s condemnation of the ongoing conflict in Eastern Europe, stating, “Guyana takes this opportunity to iterate its condemnation of the use of threat and of force to settle disputes. We reaffirm and recommend that international disputes should be resolved without resort to aggression and in accordance with the principles of international law.”

In highlighting the importance of the CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement with Europe in boosting trade and investment flows into Guyana, PM Phillips encouraged more European companies to explore investment opportunities across traditional sectors such as agriculture and new industries. He noted that the Government has made tremendous strides in creating an enabling environment offering several investment opportunities in key economic sectors.

The Prime Minister highlighted the EU’s significant role in supporting Guyana’s development priorities through its assistance, which has resulted in notable improvements in critical sectors, such as health and forestry.

In addition to this, the Prime Minister noted a recent collaboration under the Global Gateway Initiative, a shared commitment to protecting natural resources and fostering sustainable development in indigenous communities, which, according to him, “reflects the EU’s commitment to contributing to the socio-economic development of Guyana while fostering sustainable development.” (DPI)