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May 9, 2015

Antigua and Barbuda congratulates the European Union on another Europe Day Celebration


May, 8th, 2015

On May 9th, Member States of the European Union will engage in their annual Europe Day celebrations. Europe Day is celebrated in recognition of peace and unity in Europe. The date marks the anniversary of the historic ’Schuman declaration’ in 1950. On that day, the French Foreign Minister, Robert Schuman, outlined his vision for a new form of political cooperation in Europe. As a result of Schuman’s vision for unity, the Treaty creating a European institution was signed in 1951 which is known today as the European Union (EU).

Reflecting on the long and fruitful relationship between Antigua and Barbuda and the EU, Ambassador Dr. Clarence Henry, National Authorising Officer for the European Development Fund (EDF) noted that the country stands in solidarity with the EU as they celebrate the historic milestone of peace, unity and strength.

In 2014, Antigua and Barbuda hosted the “Europe Day” celebrations in conjunction with the EU Delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean at the Antigua and Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute (ABHTI). It was fitting that the celebrations were held at the ABHTI since it is one of the beneficiary sites in Antigua and Barbuda that received development support from the EU under the 9th EDF.

According to the NAO, Antigua and Barbuda holds dear its development partnership with the EU which continues to deliver crucial, successful projects in key sectors of the local economy. Under the 7th, 8th and 9th EDF, EU’s aid to Antigua and Barbuda focused on human resource development, in line with Government policy to upgrade the Country’s intellectual capital by means of a comprehensive reform of the education system.

In addition to the ABHTI, other notable success stories include the construction of the Antigua State College (ASC) Science block, refurbishment of the Engineering Workshop at the ASC, restoration of the Nelson Dockyard sea wall; construction of the St. John’s Montserrat ferry docking facility and the implementation of the Strengthening of Technical and Vocational Education, out of which came the construction and equipping of the Antigua and Barbuda Institute of Continuing Education (ABICE) and the establishment of the National Training Agency. The 10th EDF which will come to an end in third quarter of 2015 is focusing on Fiscal and Public Sector modernisation through Public Financial Management (PFM) and Revenue Reform.

Additional funds awarded as a result of satisfactory implementation appraisals under the current EDF cycle, are now employed in the implementation of the ASYCUDA World project at the Customs and Excise Division. The upcoming programme under the 11th EDF will continue to support PFM reform, building on the gains realized through the 10th EDF support.

The Country will be forever grateful for the EU’s friendship, continuous support and willingness to cooperate with the Government and people of Antigua and Barbuda.