PM Dr. Luc Mercelina, Hosts EU Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen for a Strategic Lunch Meeting

May 27, 2024  -PHILIPSBURG – Honorable Prime Minister Dr. Luc Mercelina and his esteemed delegation welcomed EU Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen and her team on Sunday in a productive and cordial lunch meeting, underscoring the importance of EU-St. Maarten relations. The meeting, held just before the Commissioner’s departure to Antigua for the 4th International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), was an opportunity to discuss collaboration and progress on key projects.

PM Mercelina expressed his gratitude for the European Commission’s ongoing support, which has been crucial in addressing St. Maarten’s development goals, particularly in the wake of the devastating 2017 hurricanes Irma and Maria. “Our relationship with the EU is foundational to our resilience and prosperity. We are grateful for the EU’s assistance in project implementation and technical support,” stated the Prime Minister.

Discussions focused on several pivotal projects including the 11th EDF Dutch Quarter Sewage Project which the Acting Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Development, Environment and Infrastructure, Mrs. Veronica Janssen-Webster highlighted.

The Prime Minister also highlighted the success of the RESEMBID program, particularly projects like the Single-use Plastic Project and the CORENA project, which have significantly contributed to St. Maarten’s environmental resilience strategies. “These initiatives not only enhance our environmental policies but actively involve our youth, such as through the Corena Youth Ranger 2024 summer program,” PM Mercelina added.

In a symbol of innovative and sustainable practices, a special gift exchange took place featuring keychains made from recycled plastics by EPIC Sint Maarten. This gesture highlighted St. Maarten’s commitment to environmental sustainability and innovative recycling initiatives.

As the meeting concluded, Prime Minister Mercelina thanked EU Commissioner Urpilainen and her delegation for their valuable time and expressed optimism for ongoing dialogue and cooperation. “We look forward to building on today’s discussions and fostering a future of mutual benefits and shared objectives,” he remarked.

Commissioner Urpilainen reciprocated the sentiments and assured continued support for St. Maarten’s development initiatives. The EU delegation will next attend the SIDS conference in Antigua, furthering discussions on small island developing states’ unique challenges and opportunities.

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