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The Foreign Secretary, H. E. Claude Morel, and the Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Seychelles, H.E. Marjaana Sall, accompanied by representatives from thirteen EU Member States, held discussions on the political and economic situation in Seychelles and in Europe, their respective priorities internally and externally, and various areas of the broad and solid partnership between the EU and Seychelles.
Claude Morel, Foreign Secretary in his welcoming address highlighted that the fifth round of the European Union-Seychelles political dialogue, taking place in the framework of Article 8 of the ACP-EU Cotonou Agreement, is testament to the commitment towards strengthening the cooperation that exist between both Seychelles and the European Union, where these discussions form an integral part of the partnership which is established by the Cotonou agreement.
He further remarked that the Seychelles EU relationship is has its foundations built on common principles and shared values such as democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights. “This dialogue serves to fortify these foundations by providing a platform for an in depth exchange of views on important political matters and global issues of mutual interest, and furthermore allow us to explore ways in which we can work together to address the challenges which we commonly face” said the Foreign Secretary.
In her opening statement, the Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Mauritius, H.E. Marjaana Sall declared:
"This 5th session of Article 8 Political Dialogue offers an excellent opportunity to discuss how to further strengthen the comprehensive partnership between the EU and Seychelles, beyond the development aid dynamics, by promoting common shared values and interests. Just as we celebrate 40 years of our solid and broad relations, we look to the future and see clear opportunities where EU and Seychelles could work closely together: maritime security, blue economy, climate change mitigation, regional economic integration, to name just a few".
The EU and Seychelles underlined the continuous importance of developing a comprehensive and mutually beneficial cooperation.
They reiterated their commitment to regular Political Dialogue under Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement as a key element of their partnership.
The European Union and Seychelles exchanged views on political situation, governance, rule of law and human rights in Seychelles. The EU reiterated its continued support in the field of governance in particular elections, the fight against corruption, gender equality and combatting gender based violence. The EU commended Seychelles on joining the EU-led Global Alliance to end trade in goods used for capital punishment and torture and encouraged Seychelles to continue playing a leadership role in promoting human rights agenda at international level.
For its part, the EU made reference to the Rome declaration (celebrations of the 60th Anniversary of the Treaties of Rome) and the ongoing initiatives to make the Union more secure, prosperous, competitive, sustainable and socially responsible. The EU also reaffirmed its determination to play a key role in the world in particular when it comes to the fight against climate change, support to rules-based multilateral system and free and fair trade.
Confirming their determination to implement the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, the Parties discussed the preparation of the SDG implementation plan and of the new national vision being developed by the Government encapsulated in the National Development Strategy. They agreed that while Seychelles has acceded to High Income status, tackling inequalities and improving the lives of the poorest Seychellois remain key priorities, alongside measures to address the drugs issue. The EU reiterated its support and offered further opportunities for working together with the Government in those areas.
The Parties discussed regional economic integration and the perspectives and opportunities of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) which was further strengthened by the recent accession of the Comoros. The EU
thanked Seychelles for the active work in the EPA Committee and the joint effort to formulate the proposals for strengthening the trade relations with the EU. Seychelles thanked the EU for the support to the EPA implementation and making their economy more competitive.
The Parties reiterated their commitment to the improved Ocean Governance and full implementation of their Fisheries Partnership Agreement, in particular through the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. They stressed that blue economy is a priority area for the EU and Seychelles and agreed to implement actions identified during the Malta Conference of Ocean Governance. The EU thanked President Faure for his
participation in the conference and commended Seychelles regarding the innovative biodiversity conservation activities.
The Parties underscored their convergence of views in the areas of climate change and maritime security. They agreed not only to fully implement the Paris Agreement, but also to engage in building global alliances to make
sure it will be implemented. They identified the opportunities for enhancing climate action and areas of cooperation.
Referring to the success of the EU NAVFOR Atalanta mission, the excellent cooperation between the EU and Seychelles and a highly positive role played by Seychelles as the Chair of the Contact Group on Piracy Off the
Coast of Somalia (CGPCS), the Parties reaffirmed their strong involvement in the fight against maritime crime in the Indian Ocean. Piracy, drugs and arms smuggling, human trafficking, illegal fishing and maritime pollution
are serious threats that can undermine peace and stability and which increase the cost of doing business. They discussed further cooperation in the context of Seychelles hosting the Regional Centre for Operational Coordination in the framework of the Regional Maritime Surveillance Mechanism with the support of the European Union.
The Parties also exchanged on a renewed partnership between the EU and Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) after the Cotonou Agreement which is due to expire in February 2020. They took note of the forthcoming
Fifth Africa-EU Summit to be held on 29 and 30 November in Abidjan on the theme 'Investing in Youth'.
The Ambassador of the European Union, Ms Marjaana Sall, led the EU party. She was accompanied by the Ambassadors of Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Slovak Republic, Spain, the British High Commissioner, the Chargé d’ Affaires of the Polish Embassy, and the Deputy Head of Mission from the Netherlands.
The European Union and the Republic of Seychelles have a solid partnership which started in 1977. During four decades, Seychelles has received €40 million in development aid from the European Union under successive European Development Funds, covering various sectors, from Environment to Economic reform programme and Education. For 2014-2020, Seychelles has received an allocation of €7 million to implement the Economic Partnership Agreement which adds to the bilateral envelope of €2.2 million.
Seychelles also benefits from several other EU instruments including regional programmes, the Common Security and Defence Policy (EUVAFOR Operation Atalanta), the Global Climate Change Alliance and thematic budget lines for Environment and Non State Actors. The European Union- Seychelles partnership not only covers Development, Investment or Trade, but also an increasingly close cooperation in the areas of Maritime Security, Climate Change and Sustainable Development Goals. The European Union remains Seychelles' top trading partner. The EU is also Seychelles' largest source of tourists' arrivals.
The political dialogue under Cotonou covers a broad range of topics, essentially “all aims and objectives” laid down in the Agreement. As such, Article 8 seeks to focus the dialogue on specific political issues of mutual concern, including the regular assessment of progress regarding respect for human rights, democratic principles, the rule of law and good governance.
The First EU-Seychelles Political Dialogue took place in Victoria in 2012.
The European Union is a unique economic and political union between 28 European countries that together cover much of the continent. Today, the EU has a total population of more than 500 million. Within the EU market, people, goods, services and capital move without any barriers. Euro, which is the single currency adopted by 19 Member States, is used each day by over 300 million people. Main institutions include the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers, and the European Commission. Since the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, the EU has a High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security who heads the European External Action Service. With 139 delegations and offices, the European External Action Service is one of the world's largest diplomatic services. Ms Federica Mogherini is the EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.