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The second High Level Political Dialogue between the European Union (EU) and Fiji under article 8 of the ACP-EU partnership (Cotonou) Agreement was held in Brussels (Belgium) on 5 December 2016. The meeting was opened by Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama. Discussions were co-chaired by Mr Gunnar Wiegand, Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific of the European External Action Service and Mr Yogesh Karan, Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister's office. The dialogue was a continuation of last year's High Level Political Dialogue in Suva and covered political and economic developments in Fiji and the European Union as well as topics of mutual interest for both sides such as consolidation of democracy and the next general elections in Fiji, human rights and development cooperation.
In his opening address, the Managing Director outlined priorities for international and regional cooperation with Fiji arising from global challenges such as climate change, oceans and migration. Fiji presented its ambitious global agenda in 2017 and invited the EU to support Fiji's COP23 Presidency and the High Level UN Conference on Oceans, co-hosted by Fiji and Sweden.
The Parties exchanged views on future cooperation after 2020, recognising the need to replace the Cotonou Agreement with an ambitious successor that would build on the success of the current Agreement and reflect the specificities and needs of the Pacific region.
Among the outcomes was an agreement by the parties to work together on key international challenges such as climate change and oceans in the framework of the Sustainable Development Agenda. The EU committed to support Fiji in its role as presidency of COP 23 and with the UN Conference on Oceans. Parties agreed to do the necessary to ensure the implementation of ongoing and future development programmes including budget support of EUR 20 million for improving rural livelihoods, notably the sugar sector.
The EU offered to support Fiji in the elections planned for 2018 and in removing remaining obstacles to the ratification by Fiji of the Economic Partnership Agreement.
The Parties also discussed visa issues and agreed to do their utmost to solve identified impediments.
Lastly, both Parties recognised the value of continuing Political Dialogue with a view to also enhance strategic cooperation in multilateral fora.