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The Government of Malawi and the European Union have reaffirmed their partnership during a scheduled Political Dialogue held on 10th January 2019, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, in Lilongwe.
The Dialogue was held in accordance with Article 8 of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific States, and forms part of regular political dialogue between Malawi and the European Union on national, regional and global issues of mutual interest. The discussion was held in an open, cordial and constructive manner.
The Government of Malawi Delegation was led by Honourable Dr. Emmanuel Fabiano, M.P., Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and comprised Hon. Francis Kasaila, M.P., Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism; Hon. Joseph Mwanamvekha, M.P., Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development; Hon. Samuel Tembenu, S.C., Minster of Justice and Constitutional Affairs; Hon. Cecilia Chazama, M.P., Minister of Gender, Children, Disability, and Social Welfare; Hon. Dr. Amos Mailosi, M.P., Deputy Minister of Defence; and Senior Government Officials from various Ministries and Departments.
The EU Delegation was led by H.E Sandra Paesen, European Union Ambassador to Malawi, who was joined by H.E. Jürgen Borsch, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany; H.E. Holly Tett, High Commissioner of the United Kingdom; Petr Preclík, Chargé d'Affaires of the Czech Republic; Matti Väänänen, Charge d'Affaires of Finland; Anne Holmes, Charge d'Affaires of the Irish Embassy, and Nikolas Bosscher, Deputy General Representative of the Government of Flanders on behalf of Belgium.
Topics for the political dialogue included the 2019 Tripartite Elections, Malawi-EU Cooperation, legal environment for Civil Society Organizations, Human Rights, Agriculture and Food Security, Post 2020 ACP-EU relations, and Regional and Global issues.
On the 2019 Tripartite Elections, the Government of Malawi reiterated Malawi’s commitment to democratic values and thanked the EU for its ongoing support in the field of governance. The meeting was also informed that the Malawi Electoral Commission had completed Phases 1, 2, and 3 of the Voters' Register Inspection. With regard to security planning, both the Malawi Police Service and Malawi Defence Forces are prepared to ensure that citizens are secure in exercising their rights. Both sides noted that the Government and the EU will make available additional resources to cater for the security and logistical requirements of transparent, inclusive and credible elections. The meeting noted positive steps taken to encourage youth participation. The Government, with support from the EU and other development partners are carrying out extensive campaigns to mobilise and encourage women, youth and vulnerable groups to put themselves forward for political office.
On Civil Society Organizations, the Government expressed its commitment to ensure a conducive operating environment in order to ensure maximum value of resources while also promoting transparency and accountability. In this regard, the EU reiterated the importance to preserve a conducive environment for Civil Society. The Government recalled that the NGO Bill was still being scrutinized by Parliament.
On Human Rights, the EU commended Malawi for a good overall record and the Government of Malawi reiterated its commitment to upholding human rights, particularly in curbing the kidnapping, abuse and ritual killings of people with albinism in Malawi, and in addressing overcrowding in prisons. The Government had adopted a National Action Plan for the Protection of Persons with Albinism which included Community Policing, and stiffer sentences for perpetrators. On overcrowding of prisons, the Government highlighted that it had set up camp courts to enhance delivery of justice. In addition, the Government has set up a complaints mechanism in some prisons to ensure that critical issues by prisoners were properly addressed.
The Malawi Government briefed the EU Delegation on steps taken in line with the agreed roadmap towards resumption of budget support, and on the Government’s priorities in Agriculture and Food Security.
On Malawi-EU Cooperation, the EU reaffirmed its commitment to continue as an important development cooperation partner. The two sides discussed developments in priority areas for EU support in the agriculture sector, including irrigation, agro-processing, and agri-business environment. In this regard, the Malawi Government called on the EU and its Member States to continue supporting Malawi in these important sectors in order to strengthen Malawi’s economy. The EU gave indications about possible future orientations based on the Commission’s proposal for the next Multiannual Financial Framework and confirmed readiness to support Malawi’s sustainable and inclusive economic growth as defined under the programme for Malawi (2015-2020) in line with the Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs.
The EU briefed the Malawi Government on the Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs and the European Investment Plan and how these initiatives could benefit Malawi. The two sides agreed to work together to ensure effective implementation of the initiatives for the betterment of Malawi and all Malawians.
On regional issues, the Government emphasized the critical role that Malawi is playing in promoting Peace and Security in the region and on the African continent. Malawi had contributed towards peace keeping efforts through deployment of Peace Keepers and Troops under the auspices of SADC, AU and the UN. Malawi is committed to continue its contribution under the MONUSCO-FIB in Eastern DRC in order to ensure the consolidation of peace in the Great Lakes Region. In addition, Malawi hosted the SADC Command Post Exercise Umodzi in October 2018 in order to enhance the capacity of the SADC Standby Force during its roster on the African Union Standby Force commencing from January to June 2019. The EU reiterated its condolences on the death of six UN Malawi soldiers who were killed during peacekeeping operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on November 14, 2018, and commended the Malawi Government’s commitment to promoting peace and security. Malawi Government had also been active in supporting various election observation missions in the SADC region in order to consolidate democracy and the rule of law in the region.
The two sides also discussed migration, including migration within the African continent, and the future of the EU-ACP Partnership beyond 2020.
In conclusion, the Government of Malawi reaffirmed its commitment to honour the Malawi/EU Article 8 Political Dialogue. The EU expressed its gratitude to His Excellency Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika the President of Malawi and his Cabinet for the regular and constructive political dialogue on issues of mutual interest.