This was said by EU Ambassador to Eswatini, Esmeralda Hernandez Aragones, on 03 February 2020 when she received the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Thuli Dladla, who was leading a delegation of Parliamentarians who are members of her Ministry's portfolio committees from both Houses of Parliament (House of Assembly and Senate) as they visited the EU offices in Mbabane as part of their tour of foreign embassies resident in the Kingdom.
In her remarks, the EU Ambassador appreciated and thanked the Minister and the parliamentarians for taking their time to come and familiarize themselves with the work of the EU Delegation to Eswatini.
The Ambassador then gave the Minister and her delegation an overview of the EU's development cooperation with the Kingdom of Eswatini, saying the EU was the leading development partner in Eswatini with projects covering almost every sector in the Kingdom.
She said at the moment agriculture and social protection were the main focal areas of EU support under the current 11th EDF (European Development Fund). However, she said the EU assistance was not limited to only these two sectors but extended to many others as well including human rights.
The Ambassador went went on to say the EU's partnership with Eswatini was actually two-legged. The first leg of the partnership was development cooperation whilst the second leg entailed an annual Political Dialogue between the EU and the Government of Eswatini which is provided for under Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement signed between the EU and the ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) countries including Eswatini.
In each year the Political Dialogue is co-chaired by the EU Ambassador and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The next Political Dialogue will be held within the next few months and the EU Ambassador said her office was looking forward to it.
Speaking on behalf of her delegation, Minister Dladla thanked the EU for its continued partnership with Eswatini. She said the sole aim of their visit to the EU offices was to familiarize themselves with the work of the EU Delegation.
The Minister appreciated the tour and the opportunity to be briefed about the many projects the EU was implementing in Eswatini. She hoped the EU's development partnership with Eswatini would continue to be strong and remain so for many years to come.