FILIPE NAIGULEVU, Fiti Times
FIJI is looking to propose a new agreement between African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP Group) that will focus on sustainable and resilient development.
While opening the third Fiji-EU Enhanced Political Dialogue in Suva yesterday, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said this new agreement will likely be proposed at the 107th session of the ACP Council of Ministers and 43rd session of the ACP-EU Joint Council in Togo later this month.
“This year’s political dialogue is particularly important, as it will lay the groundwork for our Ministerial meeting in Togo later this month,” Mr Bainimarama said.
“In the upcoming negotiations, Fiji will be pushing for an even greater focus on sustainable, resilient development, and space for accommodating developing and climate-vulnerable small island states, increasing regional trade and integration and making development financing more accessible.”
Fiji has a number of existing cooperative agreements in place with the European Union, along with other bilateral arrangements with its member states.
“Taken together, those arrangements impact nearly every aspect of our national development,” Mr Bainimarama said.
“We in Fiji are proud of every relationship we share with the member countries of the European Union; relationships that have transformed the lives of Fijians and Europeans alike.
“And we recognise this event as a powerful tool in strengthening those relationships, and in finding new ways we can make life better for people here in Fiji, in the EU, and everywhere around the world.”
Fiji initiated the enhanced high level political dialogue with the European Union in 2015 since Fiji’s return to parliamentary democracy and ending of the measures under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement.
During this dialogue, the two parties exchange views on recent political and economic developments in Fiji and the EU before reviewing bilateral political relations and strategic priorities.
Discussions will also cover topics of mutual interest for both sides such as the 2018 general elections, fight against climate change, Economic partnership Agreement (EPA), human rights and development cooperation.
The dialogue is a continuation of the High Level Political Dialogue held in Brussels, Belgium in 2016.