Romania sympathetic to CARICOM’s blacklisting concerns

CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque receives the letters of credence of His Excellency Stefan Mera, first Ambassador of Romania to CARICOM
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The Government of Romania is sympathetic to the concerns of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) with respect to the blacklisting of some of its Member States by the European Union (EU).

The sentiment was conveyed by His Excellency Stefan Mera as he presented his credentials on Thursday to CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque as his country’s first Ambassador to CARICOM.

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Some CARICOM Member States have been blacklisted by EU despite having fulfilled the criteria set out by the relevant global regulatory authorities for financial services. Secretary-General LaRocque in a statement during the ceremony at the CARICOM Secretariat’s headquarters in Georgetown, Guyana, said the depth of the friendly relationship between the Region and the EU “should have allowed for dialogue prior to the institution of such harmful measures which negatively affect our Community.”

He called on Romania in its capacity as the current President of the Council of the European Union, to influence the initiation of a dialogue on this issue. He pointed out that blacklisted jurisdictions faced major reputational damage and disruptive controls on their financial transactions.

“Blacklisting influences the strategies of international banks resulting in de-risking and their withdrawal of crucial correspondent banking relationships,” he added.

CARICOM and Romania are working on a draft Memorandum of Understanding to implement and execute specific technical and scientific programmes and projects. Romania has offered 46 scholarships to Community nationals in various areas beneficial to Member States.

The Secretary-General urged Romania to support the Community’s advocacy for international actions that allowed for a balanced approach to accessing concessional development financing. He said a fundamental reconsideration was required of the current criteria that governed access to such funding which gave inordinate weight to GDP per capita.

“Revised criteria must take into account vulnerability and not rely solely on per capita income which has resulted in many of our countries being graduated out of access to such funding,” Ambassador LaRocque said. “As we seek to build our resilience, concessional development financing is needed to assist us,” he added.

“Studies have shown that for every dollar spent on building resilience prior to disasters, four dollars are saved on reconstruction costs,” the Secretary-General stated.

“Financing resilience to combat disasters and other effects of climate change is a good investment,” Ambassador LaRocque said.

The Romanian diplomat said his country had established diplomatic relations with all Caribbean countries and had signed MOUs with Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Guyana and Jamaica. Ambassador Mera, based in Brazil, invited the Secretary-General to attend an International Conference on Resilience to Disasters, in Bucharest on March 12, 2019. CARICOM Foreign Ministers have also been invited.

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