PM: Political dialogue a powerful tool

Head of the European Union in the Pacific, Julian Wilson shaking his hand with the Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama after the opening of the 2-day Fiji-EU Political Dialogue in Suva yesterday. Picture: ATU RASEA

THE third high level political dialogue under Article 8 of the Cotonou ACP-EU partnership agreement is a powerful tool that would assist in strengthening relationships between Fiji and the EU, says Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama. “We have a number of co-operative agreements in place with the EU, along with other bilateral arrangements with its member states. “Taken together, those arrangements impact nearly every aspect of our national development,” Mr Bainimarama said during his opening speech at the dialogue held in Suva on Tuesday.

He reiterated how this bilateral relationship had also played a part in trying to make the world a safer place.

“Through UN Peacekeeping, co-operation in combating cybercrime and thwarting transnational criminals, and on many great issues of our time, Fiji and EU member countries have spoken together, with one voice, to rally the world to action,” Mr Bainimarama said.

EU ambassdor to Fiji and the Pacific, Julian Wilson said the dialogue would put in place practical actions for the goals set for 2018 and 2019.

“Over the next two days, we will review how we’ve done over the last year, detail the goals set for 2018 and 2019 and identify practical actions we can implement to realise those goals,” Mr Wilson said.

He added discussions will be centered around different areas of interest between Fiji and the EU.

“Whether that’s in the area of climate or in the area of trade, he has given a very clear indication of the line to follow and we will try and develop in the next two days into concrete actions that we can present to the government which will be the Attorney-General this afternoon,” he said.

The dialogue is co-chaired by the permanent secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ioane Naivalurua and Mr Wilson. France, Spain and the UK are part of the EU delegation attending the dialogue that ended yesterday.