Guyana seeks clarity from EU before signing Samoa Agreement
Roughly 64 of the 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries have signed the new Samoa Agreement, the overarching framework for relations between the European Union (EU) and ACP countries.
While the Samoa Agreement comes into force at the start of 2024, Guyana has not yet signed on.
A previous treaty between the EU and Guyana which was signed in 2003 – the Cotonou Agreement – expired at the end of 2023.
Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Guyana, Ambassador René Van Nes engaged members of the media on Thursday, two days after meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd.
A joint statement following that meeting noted that “both sides acknowledged the transition from the Cotonou Partnership Agreement, which ended on 31 December 2023, and discussed Guyana’s accession to its successor – the Samoa Agreement.”
Ambassador Van Nes said that Guyana has raised some concerns with the new agreement and the two sides are “talking on those issues where clarity is needed.”
He would not say what the areas of concern are.
“…64 countries have signed Samoa Agreement; Guyana has not done that… Guyana will look favourably to sign.
“They have concerns and it’s good, let them take their time and sign only when comfortable…we are talking on those issues where clarity is needed,” the EU diplomat explained.
He said the EU continues to stress the benefits for Guyana and hopes it will lead to a signature; the last agreement had almost a complete buy-in from all ACP member states.
And, on the point of benefits for Guyana in this new agreement, Ambassador Van Nes said it goes beyond finances and addresses the core point of building partnerships.
“None of us are able to tackle the big problems in this world alone anymore…it is all about recognizing that we need to do that together.
“Recognizing the political importance of countries like Guyana where we want a mature political relationship.
“They [Guyana] have indicated what the area of concern is and we are talking about that area of concern,” he added.
Guyana’s economy depends on commodity exports such as gold, diamonds, bauxite, sugar, rice, fish and other non-traditional agricultural products; under the new agreement, these levels of trade will be facilitated with EU member states.
Additionally, there will be support for issues like climate resilience with the impact of climate change already being felt. Rising sea levels affect coastal areas where most economic activity occurs.