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EU Commissioner Urpilainen launches EU Youth Action Plan in the Caribbean

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – During her mission to Barbados on 11 and 12 October, European Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, launched the EU Youth Action Plan in the Caribbean at the University of West Indies (UWI). Within the margins of the launch of the new EU-Caribbean partnership, the Commissioner met with Caribbean Youth Leaders at UWI. Engaging youth and enhancing their skills and employability are crosscutting essential elements of the Caribbean-EU partnership and the EU cooperation towards the green and digital transition.

Commissioner Urpilainen, said:

“I am proud to launch the EU Youth Action plan today in Barbados for the Latin American and Caribbean region. The Youth Action Plan lives up to our commitment to putting youth at the centre of the EU’s external action for sustainable development, equality, and peace and giving them a real voice to shape the solutions for a better future. We have heard young people and will meaningfully engage, empower and connect with them while providing them with opportunities, starting with the Global Gateway, the EU’s offer to partners for investments that work for people and the planet. This comes alongside the new EU-Caribbean Partnerships that we announce during my visit to Barbados, the instrument with which we are relaunching EU-Caribbean engagement.”

The European Union’s Youth Action Plan focusses on youth empowerment through the European Union’s external action at a political, social and economic level, and encourages youth to engage in decision-making and policy-making.

The Commissioner participated in a roundtable discussion with the Caribbean Youth Leaders at UWI. The roundtable allowed an exchange on the current challenges within the region from the perspective of the youth and discussion of potential solutions. Students from other UWI campuses (Antigua & Barbuda, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and the open campus) joined virtually.

Prior to the roundtable participants had the opportunity to learn more about some key initiatives of the Plan such as the European Union’s Erasmus+ students programme which offers scholarship opportunities for Caribbean students at European Union universities, and the intra-Caribbean Academic Mobility Programme.

President of the UWI Cave Hill Guild of Students, Osaze Moraldo-Bowen, said:

“Limited access to economic opportunities is one of the most important issues facing young people today. We are exerting every effort to educate, train, and upskill ourselves, but are not always provided with sufficient opportunities to put these abilities to use.”

The Commissioner continues her engagement tomorrow and will visit the St Ambrose Primary School in Bridgetown, which includes an EU-sponsored outdoor learning space and interact with students on a variety of topics. The Commissioner will officially hand over copies of books created and designed by staff members of the European Union Delegation in Barbados to deputy chief education officer, Joy Adamson.

St Ambrose Primary is one of the six schools in Barbados that has benefited from an Outdoor Learning Spaces Programme sponsored by the European Union aimed at creating an outdoor learning environment where students can learn, engage and interact from and with the outdoors.


On 4 October 2022, the Commission and the High Representative adopted the Youth Action Plan in the European Union external action for 2022-2027, the first-ever policy framework for a strategic partnership with young people around the world to build a more resilient, inclusive and sustainable future. It aims at delivering on international commitments, such as the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Agreement, by enhancing meaningful youth participation and empowerment in the EU’s external action policies. The Youth Action Plan is part of the EU’s efforts to mark the European Year of Youth 2022 and its international dimension, shining a light on the important role of young people in building a better future – greener, more inclusive and digital.

The EU and UWI share a long history of cooperation. Since 1993, the European Union has provided over EUR 150 million in research and development grants to the University of the West Indies and several hundred students and staff have benefited from EU support to academic mobility to study in the EU.


Erasmus+ is the EU programme for education, training, youth and sport, which includes an international dimension allowing the participation of partner countries.

Key results of Barbados for the period 2014-2020

  • Total of 78 short term mobilities/scholarships of students and staff between Barbados and Europe in both directions, involving 16 projects.
  • Erasmus Joint Masters: 1 Higher Education Institution from Barbados is an associated partner.

New phase 2021-2027

In the new Erasmus+ phase for the period 2021-2027 there is has a targeted allocation for the Caribbean countries of €14 million. Besides the traditional international actions in Higher Education, the programme includes support to the VET sector and increase the promotion of the regional integration with the Jean Monet action. Support is going to be provided also to Alumni Association and National Focal Points.

The 2022 Erasmus+ call for proposals has been just concluded, the results by country are about to be published in the coming weeks. Interested students are invited to reach out to the International Relations Department of their University to obtain more information regarding the application process.



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