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Mauritius is engaged in a close political dialogue with the EU as provided for under Article 8 of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement. The first annual Political Dialogue with the Government of Mauritius took place in 2011. During the latest Political Dialogue in January 2016, EU and Mauritius discussed about issues of common interest such as the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), Peace and Security including the fight against Terrorism, combating Corruption and promoting Good Governance, addressing the effects of Climate Change, the Sustainable Development Goals and Regional Economic Integration amongst others.
EU represents Mauritius main trading partner. The EU market represents 70% of Mauritian exports. Moreover, around 50% of tourist arrivals come from Europe.
The reform of the sugar regime and the associated drop in the price of this key commodity had significant consequences for sugar producers, both within the EU and beyond. For the countries that had benefited from preferential arrangements under the Sugar Protocol to the Lomé Convention, like Mauritius, the EU has provided accompanying measures, under the Development Cooperation Instrument, to supporting these countries as they adjust to the new system.
The aim of the EU's Sugar Accompanying Measures was to provide support to the ACP sugar protocol countries in restructuring their sugar sector and help offsetting price cuts of the guaranteed sugar price in the context of the EU Sugar reform.
The EU has provided 371 million euros during the past 8 years to Mauritius in terms of bilateral aid mainly in the form budget support. Most of these funds have been allocated to the sugar sector reform programme as part of the Accompanying Measures for the Sugar Protocol.
Mauritius (together with Seychelles, Madagascar and Zimbabwe) signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU in 2009. It is applied since 14 May 2012.
EPA is reciprocal and goes beyond conventional free-trade agreements. It opens EU markets fully and immediately, allowing long transition periods for partner countries to open up partially to EU imports while providing protection for sensitive sectors. EPAs are also 'development instruments', comprising the political, economic, social, cultural and environmental aspects of sustainable development.
The EPA Committee meets annually.
Mauritius –EU trade: http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2006/september/tradoc_122463.pdf
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The Decentralised Cooperation Programme (DCP), which was launched in 2006, is a programme of 17.4 million euros funded by the European Union. The overall objective of the DCP, which is implemented through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, is to provide support to Non-State Actors (NSAs) to contribute to the fight against poverty and sustainable development in Mauritius and Rodrigues. Since 2006, more than 400 projects have been funded and implemented by 200 NSAs. The programme has also empowered NSAs in areas of governance, management, advocacy and political dialogue, monitoring & evaluation and organisational development.
The 11th EDF National Indicative Programme, which amounts to a total of 9.9 million euros, will guide the bilateral EU-Republic of Mauritius cooperation until 2020. The general objective of the 11th EDF is to assist Mauritius to evolve from an Upper Middle Income Country to High income Country by improving the relevance, quality and equity in tertiary education and research and innovation. For Tertiary Education, the main objectives are: to increase the relevance of the university studies to reduce the skills mismatch exists in the labour market and improve equity so that vulnerable and low income families get equal access to University education. For Research and Innovation, the programme aims at boosting research through putting in place the necessary institutional framework and to increase the number of research proposals that obtain financing.
The first fisheries agreement concluded between the European Community and Mauritius dates back from 1989. On 23 February 2012 the European Union and Mauritius initialled a new Fishery Partnership Agreement (FPA) and Protocol.
The new fisheries protocol concluded between the European Union and Mauritius covers the period 28/01/2014 – 27/01/2017 with a financial contribution of 660 000 euros out of which 302 500 euros for targeted actions for the development of the fisheries sector.
It allows vessels from Spain, France, Portugal, Italy and the United Kingdom to fish in the Mauritian waters and is part of the tuna network fisheries agreements in the Indian Ocean.
Under the thematic budget line 'Migration and Asylum', the EU has funded for an amount of around 629 000 euros a project helping to implement the circular migration agreement between Mauritius and Italy, led by the Ministry of Labour of Italy (with the International Organisation for Migration and the Ministry of Labour of Mauritius as partners). From 2013 to 2015, a hundred Mauritian citizens have been trained in Italy in agribusiness, tourism and fisheries. Back home, eleven of them have also benefitted from a grant of 3 000 euros to start their business.
Mauritius is among the six African countries benefitting from the SWITCH Africa Green initiative which is implemented by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and funded by the EU. The objective is to achieve sustainable development by engaging in transition towards an inclusive green economy, based on sustainable consumption and production patterns, while generating growth, creating decent jobs and reducing poverty. Six projects have been retained for funding for Mauritius including three projects in Rodrigues. The Policy Support Component of the Switch Africa Green Programme has supported the elaboration a Country Implementation Plan (CIP) which details the priority sectors, namely, Agriculture, Manufacturing, Tourism with Energy, Water, Eco-innovation, Eco-labelling and Sustainable Trade as cross-cutting issues. The main recommendations of the CIP pertain to gaps in the enabling legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks, and the potential for more economic incentives to drive the desired shift towards green businesses.
Our partnership with the Republic of Mauritius in culture includes innovative initiatives that promote various forms of arts, for instance the Festival PassePortes of living arts and the Ephemeral Art Exhibition organised under the patronage of the President of the Republic. The objective is to make art accessible to all, and to encourage creators, in particular amongst the young.