Political & economic relations
The European Union is not only a key political and trade partner for Jamaica, but through its external cooperation programmes is also the country's largest grant partner for development.
Partners for over 35 years
Jamaica has always enjoyed close economic and political ties with Europe. Jamaica's independence in 1962 came shortly after the Treaty of Rome of 1957 that established the European Economic Community. The European Commission established its Delegation in Jamaica in April 1976, following the signature of the First of the Lomé Conventions, to facilitate the implementation of the programmes foreseen under the Convention. In the following decades the process of European integration has brought a constant enhancement of the political and economic relationships between the country and what is now the European Union.
With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty on the 1 December 2009 the Delegation of the European Commission has officially become the Delegation of the European Union.
Why are we in Jamaica?
The basis for colaboration between Jamaica and the EU is imbedded in several legal documents, of which Jamiaca is a signatory:
- the four Lomé Conventions, the first signed in Togo, Western Africa in 1975;
- the African, Caribbean Pacific (ACP)-EU Partnership Agreement, signed in Cotonou, Benin, Western Africa on 23 June 2000;
- CARIFORUM - EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) that was signed on October 15, 2008.
Together with the Paris Declaration, these documents determine the spirit and content of cooperation between Jamaica and European Union.
What do we do in Jamaica?
Jamaica and the EU conduct relations not only at bilateral level but within the framework of several regional groupings and other fora.
The European Union, in seeking a partnership for growth, stability and development with the Caribbean, supports the ongoing process of regional integration within the Caricom Community, with a special focus on the efforts to overcome the specific vulnerabilities of the countries in the Caribbean region. Jamaica, as member of the Caricom Community, is deeply involved in the policy dialogue between the EU and Caricom and benefits of the resources made available under the EU Strategy for the Caribbean.
Jamaica is also among the countries that participate in the EU-Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) summits that take place bi-annually. Heads of State and Government of the EU and the Latin America and the Caribbean countries met for the first time in Rio in 1999 to set up a bi-regional strategic partnership on a proactive basis, laying down certain priorities to ensure coordinated action in the political, social and economic spheres.
Jamaica, after having represented Caricom at the Rio Group for some time, has become a full member of the Group in its own rights in 2009. On alternate years to the EU-LAC Summits, there are meetings at Ministerial level between the EU and the Rio Group.