THE European Commission has long supported the region to address and find an amicable solution to regional problems.
The statement by Environment Minister Colonel Samuela Saumatua on Monday to a stakeholders conference on climate change acknowledged the EU's provision of 1.8million euros ($F4.2million) to people affected by the Tropical Cyclone Evan in Fiji and Samoa late last year.
"Apart from this, European Union contribution has been in infrastructure development such as the rehabilitation of the Lami rubbish dump and the construction of the Rewa Bridge," Col. Saumatua said. "The Fiji Education Sector Programme, which focuses on education needs and priorities of Fiji's rural areas and growing number of disadvantaged urban areas in terms of infrastructure and teaching resource, also got a major boost last year after receiving 21million euros ($F48.9million) from the EU.
"Some other areas in which we benefit from the union are trade and energy."
Col. Saumatua said one of weaknesses of Pacific island countries was lack of good scientific capacity and fundamental scientific research.
"Governments have many pressing priorities and investment into this is not such a high priority. Governments look to academic institutions to provide leadership in this area."
He said it was a pleasure that local universities were taking a lead role in this and that the EU was supportive of the initiative.
"We look to the EU's continued support in this area as we not only build our science and technology research and development but try to build capacity through the communities for the appreciation of the need for fundamental science and technology research."