In presenting her Letter of Credence, Ambassador Wasilewska expressed delight in doing so, albeit virtually, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. In that regard, she extended her deepest condolences to families in OECS Member States who have lost loved ones in the global battle against the Coronavirus.
The Ambassador conveyed the warmest regards of the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission, H.E. Joseph Borrell Fontelles, and his wish to continue working closely with the OECS to deepen the longstanding partnership which is based on shared values and common interests.
Ambassador Wasilewska highlighted the significant progress made by the OECS in regional integration since the signing of the Treaty of Basseterre and the Revised Treaty of Basseterre establishing the OECS Economic Union. She declared that the EU is honoured to have been with the OECS throughout the past 40 years as a staunch partner in development cooperation, particularly in the areas of trade and investment, tertiary education, customs, waste management, as well as regional integration with a focus on institutional development, public education, and training.
With respect to the recently negotiated new partnership agreement between the EU and the Members of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), the Ambassador informed that the agreement allows for preserving key components of the Cotonou Agreement whilst deepening partnerships at the regional level. She also explained that carving out a Caribbean pillar in the new agreement, allows the EU to better focus its attention and resources on key areas of common interest and to address them jointly and decisively.
In her closing remarks, Ambassador Wasilewska reiterated the EU’s commitment to support the regional integration agenda and processes of its regional partners.
In accepting the Letter of Credence, the OECS Director General stated:
“The presentation of credentials by H.E. Malgorzata Wasilewska is continued testament to the longstanding ties of friendship that exist between the European Union (EU) and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States(OECS). Ours has been an enduring relationship in an ever-changing world. Over the years, the EU and the OECS have shared a reliable and unwavering friendship based on historical, cultural and linguistic ties. These ties have been further enriched by shared interests and common values such as democracy, the rule of law, transparency and inclusiveness. The OECS places great value on its relationship with the EU and is very appreciative of the expressions of solidarity and goodwill over the years.”
In his comments on the further deepening of OECS-EU relations, the Director General stated:
“Enhanced relations between our two organisations is a crucial and vital step in our partnership, because it allows us to respond in genuine and practical ways to the demands of the time and to determine and define the nature of our new engagements. It also serves as a platform for action based on a constructive and meaningful partnership between friends.”
The Director General welcomed the Ambassador to the OECS, and underscored the Organisation’s commitment to enhanced cooperation with the EU in areas of mutual interest.
During a courtesy meeting which immediately followed the Ceremony, the Director General and the Ambassador exchanged views on a broad range of development cooperation issues. Both sides agreed to commence in-depth discussions in the immediate future, in order to pursue the common objective of deepening relations.
Formal diplomatic relations between the OECS and the European Union were established in 2013. Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska is also accredited to the Eastern Caribbean Countries, and CARICOM/CARIFORUM.