From Brussels: Visa free access to EU at stake

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Antigua and Barbuda is being urged to rejoin the Eastern Caribbean mission in Brussels – a body it left over a decade ago.
The body negotiates with the European Union; and Charge D’Affairs Sharlene Shillingford-McKlmon says Antigua and Barbuda’s interests such as visa free access to the EU – are at stake.
She says the mission is underfunded and understaffed but still achieves benefits for non-contributors like Antigua and Barbuda.
She explained that the twin island benefited from the Schengen visa waiver along with St Kitts and Nevis despite not being present during negotiations a few years ago.
“So even in Antigua’s absence, they are able to benefit from the agreement we conclude, because we have the same framework, the same conditions and when we defend anything here for small states, it suits Antigua. I think it might be worthy for the Antiguan officials to consider, in a positive light, the multilateral proofing,” Shillingford-McKlmon said.
Foreign Affairs Minister Charles “Max” Fernandez says Antigua left the mission in the 1990’s when it was focused on bananas but that Prime Minister Gaston Browne told colleague heads at their last meeting that the country will consider rejoining.
Meanwhile the mission’s second secretary Juliet Sutherland says advocacy on the citizenship by investment programme is not part of the mission’s current mandate.
“The mandate is set by the member states and political directorate of the members states and they are the ones to change it, if they see it fit to change it,” Sutherland said.
Shillingford-McKlom explained the CIP limitations in the mandate

She was speaking to Observer Media in Brussels…

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