Montserrat premier cautions British overseas territories about eurozone crisis

BRUSSELS, Belgium, Wednesday January 25, 2012 – Montserrat Premier Reuben Meade has warned British Overseas Countries & Territories (OCT) to prepare “for the worse case scenario” in light of the ongoing eurozone crisis.

He told leaders gathered here for the three-day 10th OCT-EU Forum that they “have to devise strategies relating to how we will sustain our economies”.

“We also need to assess our own vulnerabilities having regard for the current environment,” he advised.

The International Monetary Fund this week warned that the eurozone crisis could cause the global economy to fall into an economic spiral reminiscent of the 1930s unless action was taken.

The Montserratian premier said British dependencies need to get a better understanding of the changing dynamics in the euro zone in light of the extreme fiscal distress of countries like Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal.

“For those of us who rely on Europe we must begin to appreciate that, if that support was to dwindle significantly we will need to find mechanisms to cope,” he pointed out.

“This will not be easy because we have become accustomed to a certain lifestyle. The problems are real and we have to be realistic in our expectations of what Europe can do for us given the current economic and fiscal environment.”

Meade said dependent states will continue to promote partnerships with countries that support “our development on principles of respect for sovereignty, equality and a genuine desire to effect social and economic development of all.”

“This must also be seen in the context of the preservation of our fundamental right to self determination,” he noted.

According to the premier, the relationship between British Overseas Countries & Territories and Britain would be redefined by a new Overseas Association Decision (OAD) that should be in place by 2013.

“We have to be cognizant that the new OAD has been designed within this current global environment, but we have to be in a position to seize the opportunities as they present themselves,” he said further.

On Monday, Premier Meade chaired the OCTA Ministerial Conference attended by representatives of the OCTs of the United Kingdom, France, The Netherlands and Denmark. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)