2015 is deemed historic and significant for Belize and the European Union because this year, the country has received a whopping forty million Euros, which is almost double the amount of money previously provided to Belize from the E.U. The eighty-four million, six hundred and nine-two thousand dollars will be used for the development funding cooperation between both entities. Today at the Radisson, the second political dialogue session between the European Union and Belize was held. The meeting allowed the representatives to report and look at a broad range of issues, including progress made on human rights, rule of law, democratic principles and good governance. Among the top issues on the list was the current status of the Belize Guatemala Process, Climate Change, Security and the Post 2015 Development Agenda. Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington led the discussion.
Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs
“I like to think that the most significant developments we have been making with the assistance of the European Union is our development with the Belize Guatemala Claim. The EU with a view to helping us to deal with the encroachment problem has funded projects in Guatemala which have impacted directly on the difficulties we were having because it created employment and generated wealth for Guatemala peasants across their border so that they had no need to come to Belize. So you would notice we have had no problem over the last year or so and we are keeping our fingers crossed that that is going to be the case. They are going to continue to support us with respect to that. They have given us full commitment that they continue to support the O.A.S. office in the adjacency zone—to finance it, to keep it going—and they have given us the full commitment that they will continue to work with us until we do the referendum and go to the ICJ—both of which we want to do as quickly as possible.”
Paola Amadei, EU Ambassador to Belize
“It’s a dialogue between friends with common objective, with also shared challenges. This time I was accompanied by the British High Commissioner and also by the Ambassador of the Netherlands who is resident in Mexico and we represent the twenty-eight member states of the E.U. As the minister says, we have touched on several issues. We did it last year in March; we repeated the exercise today and I think the dialogue is getting better every time. The next opportunity we will have to meet will be in June in Brussels where the EU CILAC summit will be celebrated and there will be dedicated discussion with the Caribbean.”