The meeting took stock of achievements in the partnership between Timor-Leste and the European Union since the last Dialogue held in Dili in May 2019 and discussed key developments in the EU and Timor-Leste. Participants highlighted the deep and long-standing friendship that connects both sides, based on common values and principles, and underlined the strong commitment to further strengthening their partnership in the fields of international and political relations, climate action, trade and development.
The participants reviewed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on public health and the support provided by the EU to Timor-Leste, amounting to €13 million, which is part of the Team Europe €120 million response package for Timor Leste and the Pacific region. The EU commended the government of Timor-Leste for its effective COVID-19 response. The EU and Timor-Leste called for continued efforts to address this global challenge at multilateral level, including the development and manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines and fair and equitable access for every country in the world.
The priorities of the new European Commission were outlined with a focus on the European Green Deal and digitalisation. The EU also presented its policy priorities on ocean governance, biodiversity and climate change. The Timor-Leste delegation gave an update on the ongoing ASEAN accession process and the fact-finding work done by the ASEAN Secretariat. The EU informed about the outcome of the Brexit negotiations and EU-UK relations after the end of the transition period (31 December 2020).
The Political Dialogue attested to shared values relating in particular to the protection and promotion of democracy, the rule of law and human rights, and the defence of multilateralism and the rules-based international order. Timor-Leste presented its latest achievements in the fields of good governance, the fight against corruption, and access to justice. It updated on its actions to promote gender equality and to tackle gender-based violence, and informed about preparations for its third cycle under the Universal Periodic Review scheduled to take place in 2021, including the ongoing process for the ratification of lnternational Human Rights lnstruments. Participants exchanged on progress made by Timor-Leste in electoral reforms. An EU Electoral Follow-Up Mission will be organised in 2021, if the situation in relation to COVID-19 permits, to take stock of the progress made in implementing the recommendations made by the EU Election Observation Mission in 2017 and the Election Expert Mission in 2018.
The EU and Timor-Leste discussed key economic and trade issues, including Timor-Leste’s people-centred post-COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan. Timor-Leste provided an update on its bid for accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The EU welcomed Timor-Leste’s letter of Intent in view of joining the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and the Pacific States, and looks forward to Timor-Leste’s submission of an accession request together with a Market Access Offer to the Parties to the Agreement (Fiji, PNG, Samoa, Solomon Islands and the EU itself) for decision. The EU reaffirmed its full support and readiness to facilitate Timor-Leste’s accession.
As regards climate change, the EU informed about latest progress made on EU commitments under the Paris agreement and encouraged Timor-Leste to continue working together towards enhancing climate resilience and reducing emissions, notably in the run-up to UNFCCC COP26.
The EU and Timor-Leste also reviewed the prospects for their cooperation post-2020. The meeting took stock of the Post-Cotonou negotiation process and the EU and Timor Leste welcomed the agreement that has been reached at political level between the Chief Negotiators on the main outstanding issues. The EU gave an overview of its upcoming development cooperation and of the ongoing programming of EU assistance to Timor-Leste from 2021-2027, in support of Timor-Leste's plans for sustainable and inclusive development and economic diversification.
The meeting was co-chaired by Ms Paola Pampaloni, Deputy Managing Director Asia and Pacific, European External Action Service, and Ms Adaljiza Albertina Xavier Reis Magno, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation in Timor-Leste.
The Cotonou Agreement constitutes the framework for collaboration between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP) broadened to include also Timor-Leste. This collaboration includes joint activities in the economic, environmental, social and cultural areas and centres on reducing, and in the longer-term, eradicating poverty. The cooperation must also contribute to peace and security as well as democracy and political stability.
Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement provides for a regular, comprehensive, balanced and deep political dialogue leading to commitments from both the EU and Timor-Leste. 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.