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The 5th Enhanced Political Dialogue allowed the Republic of Vanuatu and the EU to further strengthen bilateral relations and to agree on common objectives.
The Political Dialogue was an opportunity to discuss main areas of mutual interest, from key political developments in Vanuatu and the EU, to human rights, gender equality, sustainable and inclusive development of Vanuatu, trade and economic partnership, cooperation on tax governance, fisheries, visa waiver agreement and people-to-people contacts.
The EU and Vanuatu also discussed the future perspectives for EU-ACP Partnership after 2020. Negotiations are ongoing to replace the current Cotonou Agreement, with an ambitious agreement to guide relations between the EU and the Pacific over the coming decades. Both parties agreed that the new agreement should reflect regional and global priorities of interest to Vanuatu, the EU and the Pacific region. The discussions focus on common priorities, including climate change, disaster risk reduction, maritime security, sustainable management of global public goods, fisheries and oceans management, public and private investment for job creation, inclusive and secure societies, and improved financial governance.
The high level meeting, organised in the framework of Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement was opened by the Honourable Prime Minister, Charlot Salwai and chaired on Vanuatu's side by the Minister for Foreign Affairs Ralph Regenvanu and on the EU side by the Deputy Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific, Ms Paola Pampaloni European External Action Service.
Ms Pampaloni said: "The EU has a long standing relation and friendship with Vanuatu and its people, based on a legacy of common values, cooperation, and constructive economic and trade relations. We discussed a wide range of issues of mutual interest and agreed to work closely together for the benefit of both sides. "'
Prime Minister Salwai stated in his opening remarks: ''The European Union is a very important development and strategic partner for the Republic of Vanuatu. The relations between Vanuatu and EU cover many areas of mutual interest and the agenda presented before us, is a testimony to this relationship. I believe that Vanuatu and EU will continue to have this good relationship and such Political Dialogue to continue to help, support and strengthen our relations in the years to come.”
The dialogue identified a number of areas for follow-up that will boost cooperation between the European Union and Vanuatu in the period until the next political dialogue in 2021. The sides will pursue the implementation of ongoing and future development programmes and exploring possible opportunities offered by the Economic Partnership Agreement for Vanuatu, in terms of increased trade. Vanuatu and the EU will also enhance cooperation within multilateral fora and on climate change.
The next Dialogue will be held in Brussels in 2021.
The Cotonou Agreement offers a framework for the European Union’s cooperation relations for the economic, social and cultural development of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP). Centred on the target of reducing, and in the longer-term, eradicating poverty, the cooperation must also contribute to peace and security and the democratic and political stability of the ACP states. The current ACP-EU Partnership Agreement (CPA) was signed on 23 June 2000 for a twenty-year period and will expire in February 2020. The expiry of the Partnership Agreement, covering 100 countries with a total of some 1.5 billion people, is the opportunity to rejuvenate the EU's relationship with its ACP partners, taking into account the current global context.
The objective of the Political Dialogue is to exchange information, to foster mutual understanding and to facilitate the establishment of agreed priorities and shared agendas, in particular by recognising links in the various areas of cooperation between the Parties as laid down in the Cotonou Agreement.
EU Press and Information Officer, Mohammed Nazeem Kasim. Email: Mohammed-Nazeem.KASIM@eeas.europa.eu