New York, 27 September 2008 Press release

Winkler: "Austrian expertise as export product for the Caribbean"

State Secretary Hans Winkler introduces the next step toward deepening cooperation with CARICOM

New York, 27 September 2008 - “The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is a young, dynamic example of successful regional cooperation. Just as the European Union, the objective of this community of Caribbean states is to better manage the challenges of the 21st century through close cooperation. Since the EU-Latin America summit in Vienna in 2006, Austria has further intensified and deepened cooperation with this region. Therefore, in the coming years we intend to continue to support the Caribbean region in coping with the effects of climate change in the areas of energy security and supply and disaster management, and to offer our expertise," said State Secretary Hans Winkler at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Edwin Carrington, the Secretary General of the Caribbean Community.

CARICOM was founded in 2001 and comprises 15 Caribbean states. The majority of the member states are also members of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), which are significantly affected by the expected rise in sea levels, and are therefore showing great interest in close cooperation in the area of climate and energy on a technical and scientific level.

During his meeting with the Secretary General, Winkler also referred to the conclusion of negotiations between EU and CARICOM over an Economic Partnership Agreement: "This long and thoroughly negotiated agreement is very important for a smooth and gradual integration of the Caribbean region into the world economy and for its sustainable economic development, yet also for the EU. During the negotiations, the EU strongly insisted that this agreement would primarily constitute development assistance. The success represented by the conclusion of the negotiations should not be diminished by the fact that the signing and entry into force of the agreement are still pending," said Winkler.

Federal Ministry for
European and international Affairs
Katharina Swoboda
Office of the State Secretary
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3469