Government has issued a request for Associate Membership in the Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM) as one of their measures to ensure that the relationship between the BVI and the European Union (EU) is maintained.
Premier Andrew Fahie in a recent statement following the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU on January 31, said the BVI will have to undertake a number of measures to ensure that the territory is in a favourable position to negotiate beneficial deals.
“We have officially requested Associate Membership in CARIFORUM, which is the Caribbean’s negotiating body on EU matters. I will be following up on this request in just a few weeks’ time when I meet my political colleagues in the region at the upcoming CARICOM Intersessional Meeting in Barbados,” Premier Fahie stated.
He added: “Once CARIFORUM Associate Membership is approved, we will begin to engage the EU on various matters involving trade and development alongside our Caribbean neighbours. This will also entail our London Office attending the regular meeting of CARIFORUM Ambassadors in Brussels.”
Premier Fahie also said the BVI London Office will continue to serve as the territory’s EU Representation Office, to ensure that BVI’s voice is heard in several EU institutions and among individual EU Member States.
He added that government will be continuing its membership in the Overseas Countries and Territories Association (OCTA) as an Associate Member to maintain a political presence in Brussels.
“It is more critical than ever that we work closely with our fellow French, Dutch and Danish Territories to lobby in the European Parliament and among other stakeholders where our interests are at stake,” the Premier said.
Fahie, who is also the Minister for Finance, further said discussions with the EU have been had with regards to the BVI as a Third Country Jurisdiction.
He stated: “Your government has also recently engaged the EU on prospects for development cooperation as a Third Country Jurisdiction, particularly as partners of the EU Outermost Regions in the Caribbean that include Guadeloupe, Martinique, Sint Martin and French Guiana.”
“We have a good track record of cooperation with these neighbours on sustainable development and will endeavour to continue partnering on projects,” the Premier added.
The BVI is expected to continue to enjoy a number of benefits from the EU during the Brexit transitioning period which ends on December 31 2020.
During this period, a number of meetings will be had to negotiate future policies and trade agreements after 2020.