DCAR: Delegation to the CARIFORUM-EU Parliamentary Committee

The European Parliament set up the DCAR on 15 June 2010. That was a little over a year since, on the basis of a report by David Martin (S&D/UK), Parliament had given its consent for the signature of the CARIFORUM-EU EPA by the EU and 15 Caribbean countries. Article 231 of the CARIFORUM-EU EPA provided for the establishment of the CARIFORUM-EU Parliamentary Committee.

The DCAR held its first constitutive meeting on 8 September 2010 when MEP David Martin was elected as its first chair. Planning for the CARIFORUM-EU Parliamentary Committee began shortly afterwards: the first committee meeting was held just nine months after the delegation was formed.

Despite this relatively rapid start, the CARIFORUM-EU Parliamentary Committee has proven complicated to convene. The committee has met only three times, once in Brussels, in 2011, and twice in Trinidad and Tobago, in 2013 and 2017.

First CARIFORUM-EU Parliamentary Committee meeting

The first CARIFORUM-EU Parliamentary Committee meeting was held in Brussels on 15 and 16 June 2011. During two half-day sessions, the committee:

• discussed the report by the Trade and Development Committee

• exchanged views with the European Commissioner for Trade, Karel De Gucht, on the state of play of the implementation of the agreement

• discussed the programming of development support under the agreement

Errol Humphrey, the former Ambassador of Barbados to the EU and a member of the CARIFORUM negotiating team for the EPA, presented a recently completed study entitled 'Implementing the EPA, challenges and bottlenecks in the CARIFORUM region'. The body elected its two Co-Presidents, David Martin and Surujrattan Rambachan (Trinidad and Tobago), as well as its Vice-Presidents MEP Eleni Theocharous (EPP, Cyprus), MEP Niccolò Rinaldi (ALDE, IT), Rizek Afif Nazario (Dominican Republic) and Rabindre Parmessar (Suriname).

Second CARIFORUM-EU Parliamentary Committee meeting

The second Parliamentary Committee meeting took place on 3 and 4 April 2013 in Trinidad and Tobago. The Caribbean side showed great commitment, as demonstrated by the presence of high-level representatives.
The first day was largely dedicated to discussions and internal procedures. The committee adopted its Rules of Procedure, as well as a joint declaration. The committee also heard several presentations from the private sector.

On the second day, participants had the opportunity to go on a field trip to the University of the West Indies and to former sugar-producing areas, where the European Union is supporting projects to achieve diversification.

The two main issues discussed, apart from the Rules of Procedure, were:

• the European Commission's proposal for a visa waiver for citizens from the region

• the EU's future development policy, and particularly its 'differentiation'

Third CARIFORUM-EU Parliamentary Committee meeting

The third meeting of the CARIFORUM-EU Parliamentary Committee took place on 31 October and 1 November 2017 in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

The committee held various working sessions tackling procedural matters, assessing progress in the implementation of the EPA based on the core findings of the first five-year review, discussing the possible implications of Brexit for CARIFORUM states and the EPA, and discussing future EU-ACP relations after the expiry of the Cotonou Agreement in 2020. The meeting ended with the adoption of the joint declaration and recommendations to the Joint CARIFORUM-EU Council. After the meeting, members visited the Trinidad and Tobago Fine Cocoa Company, the Yerette Hummingbird Sanctuary and the Cocoa Research and Innovation Centre at the University of the West Indies.
Ongoing delegation work

Although the joint Parliamentary Committee has not met frequently, the DCAR delegation had continued to convene in Brussels and Strasbourg, discussing
  • the implementation of the Cultural Protocol, using provisions, such as twinning between cities, more direct cooperation in entertainment and audiovisual industries, the possibility of creating a creative industry platform etc.;
  • the implementation of the labour mobility provisions to open new markets for Caribbean companies and professionals (especially of qualified professionals such as accountants, engineers, architects, tourism) to offer services in the EU;
  • visa requirements and the proposal of the European Commission to no longer require visas of citizens of several Caribbean countries to enter the EU;
  • the reform of EU aid, targeting aid to the world's poorest countries, and the impact this "differentiation" might have on the Caribbean countries;
  • independent monitoring of the agreement and the review after five years.
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