May 24. 2024. 5:21

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Dutch government appoints special EU funds envoy for overseas territories


The Interior and Kingdom Relations Ministry appointed Edison Rijna, Lieutenant Governor of the Dutch overseas territory Bonaire, to the position of Special Envoy for the Caribbean Netherlands for EU funds.

The Caribbean Netherlands, which comprises the three islands of Bonaire, Sint-Eustatius and Saba are not formally part of the European Union. They do not need to implement EU law but are eligible for EU funds and cooperation agreements, such as the Erasmus+ programme.

“I am very pleased that Mr Rijna has agreed to accept this appointment. With his years of experience as governor and broad international network in the region, I am convinced that he can be of great significance for the islands and the Netherlands as special envoy,” said State Secretary for Interior and Kingdom Relations, Alexandra van Huffelen.

“In his new role, he can make an important contribution to accessing EU and UN funds, increasing prosperity and broadening the economic base. We thank Mr Rijna for his great commitment to the island of Bonaire in his role as governor”, she added.

As a special envoy, Rijna will attempt to gain better access to EU funds as well as UN funds for the three islands while also developing economic ties with Latin America, for which he will maintain close contact with the EU Commission and UN organisations.

“With my role as envoy, I can tap into new opportunities for Bonaire, Saba and St Eustatius for international cooperation and development. Because of our relationship with the EU, there are many opportunities to exploit. This also applies to some UN-related organisations that can mean a lot to the islands. I look forward to fruitful cooperation with the various parties involved,” Rijna said.

Rijna will take his new position on 18 April while simultaneously stepping down as Lieutenant Governor of Bonaire. (Benedikt Stöckl | EURACTIV.com)