The European Union (EU) has provided nearly €1 billion to support Caribbean and Latin American countries to tackle the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Head of the EU Delegation in Jamaica, Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, in a statement to mark Europe Day 2020, said the EU has decided “to immediately reorient its assistance programmes with Latin America and the Caribbean, as part of the EU’s support to fight the disease.”
Europe Day, observed on May 9 every year, celebrates peace and unity in Europe and also the partnership between the EU and partner countries like Jamaica. The date marks the anniversary of the historical ‘Schuman Declaration’ on May 9, 1950, when the then French Foreign Minister, Robert Schuman, delivered a speech in Paris where he set out his idea for a new form of political cooperation in Europe.
Wasilewska said that Caribbean member states will benefit from a grant of some €8.5 million to assist in the fight against COVID-19.
She noted that the EU. in partnership with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), has mobilised the funds to cater for the region’s most urgent needs in managing the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. CARPHA is leading the regional health response to COVID-19, in keeping with its intergovernmental Agreement with CARICOM.
“This funding will help to increase the region’s capacity to detect, monitor and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in a coordinated way. Here is hoping it will serve the people of the Caribbean well,” she said.
She noted that the observance of Europe Day comes at a time when Jamaica, the region and the world is fighting a war against COVID-19, which threatens the health and wellbeing of people everywhere.
She pointed out that the EU remains committed to the principle of solidarity, “which compels us to work together in the common interest of all people around the world.”
“One of the lessons this experience has been teaching us is that our best chance for survival and the recovery is to fight this epidemic together,” she said in her message.
Recently, the European Union handed over 29 ventilators, valued at approximately €1 million, for intensive care units in the public health system.
“It is a privilege for me personally to present this kind of assistance from the citizens of Europe to the people of Jamaica, at such a sensitive time,” the Ambassador said.