The European Union, its Member States and the Government of the Dominican Republic held a meeting at the National Palace, where President Luis Abinader stated that the European Union has been an ally in the creation of wealth, the generation of jobs and the improvement of the competitiveness of goods and services in the country.
The meeting “Dominican Republic and the European Union: natural partners” highlighted the trajectory of their relations as natural partners of cooperation and friendship over more than three decades, as well as the positive perspectives of their alliance in the face of the challenges faced by the country and the Latin American and Caribbean region, including climate change.
During the event, which was attended by Foreign Minister Roberto Álvarez; European Union Ambassador Katja Afheldt; French Ambassador Eric Fournier; Spanish Ambassador Antonio Pérez-Hernández; Italian Ambassador Stefano Queirolo-Palmas; German Ambassador Maike Friedrichsen; and Dutch Ambassador Frank Keurhorst, the Dominican President thanked the European Union Member States for their support for the Dominican Republic’s historic participation in the Human Rights Council, starting in 2024.
He highlighted the cooperation of the European Union and its role as a partner for development during the last decades and said that the European imprint is undeniable and is reflected in initiatives in education, justice, gender equality, competitiveness and quality, public finances and other areas.
President Abinader expressed confidence that they will continue to strengthen this bilateral partnership and that initiatives such as the Global Gateway will identify more opportunities for cooperation, value-added and strategic win-win investments for all.
“In this regard, I welcome the signing very soon of the Samoa agreement, which will replace the Cotonou agreement, which will give us that general framework to continue strengthening our dialogue on cooperation,” he said.
The Dominican head of state recalled that during his visit to Brussels in July of this year, to participate in the EU-CELAC Summit, he had an interesting exchange with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who emphasized that the Dominican Republic is the main trading partner of the European Union in the entire Caribbean region.
European partners are expected to continue to join the efforts of pacification and stabilization in Haiti.
He reiterated his appreciation for the support received from the European Union and its Member States in the search for solutions to the crisis in Haiti and added that now that there is a Security Council resolution for the formation of a mission led by Kenya, they hope that European partners will continue to join the efforts of pacification and stabilization in Haiti, which will create the conditions for this neighboring country to move towards the path of development.
“There is no doubt that the Dominican Republic and the European Union are natural partners. We share values, joint efforts and the same vision that it is necessary, today more than ever, to assume a firm commitment to face global challenges such as climate change, the fight against poverty and the defense and protection of human rights,” said President Abinader.
He referred to Central Bank figures, which reveal that Europe is the second largest investor in the country. “There are more than 1,000 companies with European participation in the country, and 73 European companies operating from free zones. In addition, Europe is the second largest emitter of remittances to the Dominican Republic.”
He explained that European investment has facilitated education and training, adapting its workforce to the needs of the Dominican market and that European companies generate more than 200,000 formal jobs, as well as account for a quarter of the contributions to social security in the private sector.
“In addition, it should be noted that thanks to the EPA Economic Partnership Agreement, trade relations have tripled in these 15 years, as well as the diversification of Dominican exports to the European market, including products of increasingly higher added value, such as equipment, instruments and medical supplies and the attraction of European investment to the country. The most sophisticated products are destined for Europe, a premium market of 550 million consumers with high purchasing power”, he said.
The governor said that continuing to work together gives them more strength to achieve sustainable growth and emphasized that the trade and investment relationship is strengthened in the green and digital transition, education, health and innovation.
He added that the close relationship commits them more and more every day to achieve multilateral commitments, contained in the 2030 agenda, the Paris agreement on climate change and other relevant global commitments.
Shared interests and values that unite the Dominican Republic and the European Union.
The activity served as a stage to present the shared interests and values that unite the Dominican Republic and the European Union, such as democracy, the rule of law, human rights, equality, solidarity and respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter. The cultural, historical, economic and geographical ties through the European islands in the Caribbean were also highlighted.
The ambassadors of Germany, Spain, France, Italy and the Netherlands, together with the European Union, highlighted the significant contributions of Europe to national development, indicating that this region is the main donor of funds to the development of the country and was the first to bet on key sectors of the Dominican economy, such as tourism and sustainable transport.
Today, European cooperation is also committed to a fair and inclusive digital green transition. Its support to the microfinance sector has been essential to generate economic opportunities for MSMEs and vulnerable people, such as women and youth.
It is recalled that the European colony is the second largest in the country and more than half a million Dominicans reside in Europe, forming a large and influential community in both territories.
As the Dominican Republic is the main trading partner of the European Union in the Caribbean, the trade relationship also had its place in the event, where it was highlighted that thanks to the Economic Partnership Agreement (known as EPA), bilateral trade has a growth of historic highs: since its signing 15 years ago it has grown by 238% and 65% in the last two years. The diplomats also stressed that Europe is the second largest investor in the country and was the first to invest in key sectors such as tourism.
Currently, Europe continues to be the leader in tourism investments, with more than 300,000 million pesos (5,000 million euros) in the last 10 years. The more than 1,000 European companies present in the country generate more than 200,000 formal jobs, and a quarter of the private sector’s social security contributions.
DR and Europe work hand in hand on sustainable development projects
The Minister of the Presidency, Joel Santos Echavarría, informed that as of August of this year, the country received 766,424 visitors from the five states of the European Union and explained that, as natural partners, the Dominican Republic and Europe work hand in hand on important projects in favor of sustainable development, such as the work carried out by Interceptor 004, which operates in an intelligent and sustainable manner in the removal of plastic waste in the Ozama and Isabela rivers, which is part of the cooperation between our nation and the Netherlands.
On his side, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Roberto Alvarez, said that in this event today that highlights bilateral relations, it is necessary to remember that both the European Union and the Dominican Republic should be interested in promoting an international order with an effective multilateralism where all countries, regardless of their size, respect the rules. “The Dominican Republic is ready to play its part in building a more just, sustainable and prosperous world.”
Dominican Republic is a priority partner for Europe.
Meanwhile, the ambassador of the European Union, Katja Afheldt, made a presentation of the political relations, and said: “Our relations are excellent and have been for a long time. The country’s political, economic and social stability, and its ambitious reform agenda, make the Dominican Republic a priority partner for Europe”.
He stated that the Dominican Republic is perceived as a pole of stability in the region, with growing leadership in the international arena, as evidenced by the successful organization of several International Summits and its recent appointment to the Human Rights Council.
“In today’s world, no country can face the global challenges confronting us alone. We want to deepen our political ties with the DR, as a natural partner of the European Union, and continue to expand our trade, cooperation and cultural relations,” Ambassador Afheldt said.
The Dominican Republic is always part of the solution, never part of the problem.
The presentation of trade and investment relations was made by the ambassadors of Spain, Antonio Pérez Hernández, and France, Eric Fournier.
The Spanish ambassador stressed that Europe is firmly committed to trade with the Dominican Republic, the main trading partner in the Caribbean and that, in the last two years, trade has increased by 65%, which is why he considered that the country is not only a natural partner of Europe, but a reliable partner, with constructive positions. “Dominican Republic is always part of the solution, never part of the problem. I wish there were many Dominican Republics in this world, we would all be doing much better”.
Meanwhile, the French ambassador affirmed that the Dominican Republic is a country of solidarity and where peace reigns.
The DR is a key point for regional security and stability.
Likewise, the ambassador of Germany, Maike Friedrichsen, and the ambassador of the Netherlands, Frank Keurhorst, presented the cooperation relations. They expressed that the Dominican Republic, as a bridge between the Americas and Europe, is a key point for regional security and stability and that they will continue to actively cooperate with the country’s efforts in strengthening democratic institutions and the fight against corruption. “We recognize the Dominican government’s fight against impunity.
Relationship is mutually beneficial and does not create dependency.
Similarly, the presentation of culture and society was made by the Ambassador of Italy, Stefano Queirolo Palmas, who expressed that the historical, social and cultural ties of the peoples of Europe and the Dominican Republic are innumerable and continue to strengthen. “Europe, let us always remember, is Santo Domingo’s second largest international partner; the relationship is mutually beneficial and does not create dependence.”
Present at the event was the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Alfredo Pacheco. Also present were Dominican government officials, as well as representatives of various sectors of national life.