Ability to Vote For European Parliament, Environmental Sustainability and Future Development Project

PM: "Relationship with Europe Becoming More In Depth"

The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams highlighted that closer ties with the European Union and the ability of St. Maarten to vote for European Parliamentary Elections will have a wide-scale influence for the future development of the country.


The Prime Minister explained that the changed structural relationship between the European Union and St. Maarten has already resulted in new developments regarding various aspects of development, including a wider focus on Environmental Sustainability, developments related to the 10th EDF upgrading project for Dutch Quarter and cooperation between St. Martin and St. Maarten on submitting joint projects to the European Union; "If you take into consideration that European Elections are upcoming on the 22nd of May and the relationship between Overseas Countries and Europe has taken on additional dimensions since January 2014 where a new agreement came into force that regulated the understanding between us and Europe. It has not always been the case that citizens of overseas countries could vote in overseas elections. Some years ago we challenged this considering that we hold a European Passport and that we, up until then, were unable to vote. The verdict was passed that persons like us were entitled to vote in European Elections. The people of St. Maarten are now being made aware that they can vote and they are encouraged to do so. The fact is that political parties of the Netherlands field candidates for the European Elections including people who were from the former Antilles and Aruba.

"In addition to that you have were the relationship with Europe is more in depth, especially were European funding is concerned; for example in the case of the European Development Fund EDF. The EDF 10 will be focused on the upgrading of Dutch Quarter with the country determining where the funding will go towards considering the parameters that the European Commission put in place. For example Middle Region has already benefitted from this project and Dutch Quarter will be the next to enjoy an upgrading through European Funding.

"St. Maarten and St. Martin are also in discussion about different joint projects were we could apply for funding from Europe. These discussions and this selecting of projects is taking place right now and persons from different departments are taking notes and identifying the way forward for joint projects.

"Environmental Sustainability is also a key factor regarding the overall sustainable development of the relationship between St. Maarten and the European Union. We will be exploring what we as St. Maarten will identify what we will focus on for the 11th EDF and what that project should be focused on. We have already been asked by the European Union what we would like to see for the 11th EDF and what we would like to pursue in the regard," commented Prime Minister Wescot-Williams, who is the Territorial Authorizing Officer for St. Maarten as it relates to EU relations.