The European Union has provided Montserrat with EC$14.2 million (€4.275M) as part of the 10th European Development Fund General Budget Support (GBS) Programme, which has been paid directly to the state treasury. This is the third tranche of an overall total of EC$51 million (€15.6M) which was located to the territory by the EU.
The assistance will support the continued modernization of the public finance management systems, and the implementation of the 2008-2020 Montserrat's Sustainable Development Plan (SDP) and Sustainability Road Map (SRM). This roadmap will contribute to the recovery and sustainable development of the British Overseas Country and Territory. The objectives of the Sustainable Development Plan are prudent Economic Management, Human Development, Environmental Management, Disaster Mitigation, as well as Governance.
In general the EU’s assistance is intended to assist with the transformation of Montserrat’s business environment so that the country becomes more attractive to private investment. The Government of Montserrat has set an ambitious target of having the private sector contribute more than 50% to the economy by 2020, a significant increase on the 34% in 2011. This transformation will require significant changes in improving the business environment; developing Montserrat as a tourism destination; and strengthening Government's capacity to deliver reforms and key strategic investments.
Head of the European Delegation to Barbados and The Eastern Caribbean Ambassador Mikael Barfod said: “The main thrust is to put in place an enabling environment, legislation, policies and institutional arrangements that can provide the framework for the development of a diversified economy, the facilitation of sustained growth and the generation of employment opportunities.”
Emphasis will be placed on the alignment of the education curriculum with the labour market that should lead to greater private sector development and growth, public sector reform in an effort to increase port and airport efficiency and the adoption of a regulatory framework for the energy sector. In addition, the authorities are expected to increase access to housing as the country continues its decade long recovery following the eruption of the Soufriere Volcano, which destroyed almost half of the island.
Editor's Note: For more background information on EU support for Montserrat, kindly click and read here. Also further background information can be found here. Information on EU international Cooperation and support for Montserrat can be found here