Delegation of the European Union to ASEAN

Vanuatu and the European Union further strengthen their partnership

21/04/2021 - 22:45
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The European Union (EU) and the Republic of Vanuatu (Vanuatu) held their sixth Political Dialogue under article 8 of the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) - EU Partnership (Cotonou) Agreement on 21 April 2021. It was the first time the dialogue was held virtually. The EU and Vanuatu took stock of achievements in the partnership since the last Political Dialogue meeting, held in Port Vila in April 2019, and updated each other on key developments. Participants underlined their firm commitment to the further deepening and strengthening of their partnership in upholding the rules-based international order and ensuring that multilateralism is effective, including in addressing the challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic and promoting climate action.

As regards the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU and Vanuatu reviewed the support provided by the EU, which seeks to strengthen health systems through assistance valued at €22 million (VUV 2.87 billion) and to mitigate the socioeconomic impact of the COVID-19 crisis through assistance valued at €11.5 million (VUV 1.5 billion). The EU and Vanuatu called for continued multilateral efforts to address this global challenge, including through the provision of COVID-19 vaccines to ensure fair and equitable access for every country in the world.

The EU informed about the outcome of the negotiations on the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, and on EU-UK relations after the end of the transition period (31 December 2020). It presented ongoing work to realise the priorities of the new European Commission with a focus on the ‘European Green Deal’ and climate change. It also congratulated Vanuatu on its recently updated, more ambitious Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement. Taking stock of the Post-Cotonou negotiation process, the EU and Vanuatu welcomed the political agreement that the Chief Negotiators reached at their level on 3rd December 2020. The EU gave an overview of the ongoing preparations for the implementation of EU external assistance in the next financial period (2021-2027) and perspectives for development cooperation more generally.

The Political Dialogue fully reflected the importance that the EU and Vanuatu attach to their shared values, including the rule of law, democracy, and human rights. The EU commended Vanuatu for the organisation of Parliamentary elections in March 2020, amidst the global emergency of COVID-19 and their assessment as credible, inclusive and transparent by the Melanesian Spearhead Group Observer Group (MSGOG) and Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) election observer teams. Vanuatu presented latest progress it made in the fields of good governance, the fight against corruption, promotion of gender equality, tackling gender-based violence and human trafficking. Vanuatu also informed about the ongoing ratification of international Human Rights instruments, and the prospect of establishing a fully-fledged National Human Rights institution. The EU and Vanuatu discussed the importance of keeping human rights central to their COVID-19 responses.

As regards trade, the EU and Vanuatu discussed the potential that the interim Economic Partnership Agreement (iEPA) between the EU and the Pacific States offers for Vanuatu to increase its trade with the EU. The EU reaffirmed its support to Vanuatu’s accession to the EPA for which Vanuatu has expressed interest but is yet to notify the Parties. Discussions also focused on the need to make progress on common priorities, in particular on ocean governance, combatting Illegal, Unreported & Unregulated (IUU) fishing, taxation and financial governance, including the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing, and the risks related to investor citizenship schemes as well as visa-related issues.

The meeting was co-chaired by Ms Paola Pampaloni, Deputy Managing Director Asia and Pacific, European External Action Service, and Mr. Kalfau Kaloris, Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and External Trade of Vanuatu.

Background

The Cotonou Agreement constitutes the framework for collaboration between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP) in a broad range of areas, including the economy and the environment, the fight against poverty and peace and security as well as democracy and political stability. Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement provides for a regular and comprehensive political dialogue to exchange information, foster mutual understanding and facilitate the establishment of agreed priorities and shared agendas. 

For enquiries:

Ministry of Foreign Affairs – EAMEA Division (Vanuatu):

E-mail address: lwarimavute@vanuatu.gov.vu

Tel: (+678) 33180

Press Team - EU Delegation for the Pacific (Fiji):

E-mail address: Mohammed-Nazeem.KASIM@eeas.europa.eu

Tel: (+679) 331-3633, ext. 110

 

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