Select Committee on European Union Fortieth Report


Letter from the Chairman to Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP, Secretary of State, Department for International Development

  Thank you for your Explanatory Memorandum dated 14 March 2006 which Sub-Committee C considered at its meeting on 23 March. The Sub-Committee agreed to clear the document from scrutiny.

  We fully support the Commission's proposals in this Communication which recognise the many challenges still facing all the Caribbean states, despite the fact that many of them are listed as middle-income countries. The Communication demonstrates that crude statistical analyses of which countries need support in order to develop viable economies and increase their stability are insufficient. Although the Caribbean region as a whole has achieved significant levels of human development, the existence of pockets of extreme poverty, as well as wide-ranging challenges such as the spread of HIV/AIDS, ensure that the region continues to require the full support of both the EU and the UK government.

  We believe the Commission to be right in its statement that: "In spite of what may appear at first glance from economic indicators and of the ambition of some countries to achieve the status of developed countries by 2020, there are concerns that some Caribbean states may slip from Middle Income to Low Income status if steps are not taken to reverse economic trends and to define security and stability strategies that will take fully into account the emerging global realities and address the challenges and opportunities ahead." We hope that you will agree that this is the correct approach to be taken, both with regards to the Caribbean and to other countries in a similar economic position.

23 March 2006

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