$40m aid flow

FIJI’S return to democracy has opened doors for at least $40million of European aid to possibly flow back into the country.

In a statement by EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs on the parliamentary elections in Fiji, he said recommendations would be made to this accord.

After the 1997 Constitution was abrogated in 2009, the EU had suspended financial aid to Fiji.

“In view of these developments, the European Commission will make recommendations to the Council on the re-establishment of full development co-operation with Fiji in the framework of the 11th European Development Fund,” Mr Piebalgs said.

“I welcome the successful holding of the first parliamentary elections in Fiji since 2006 and Fiji’s return to democratic rule.

“I commend the Fijian people for exercising their democratic right and for voting in great numbers.

“I congratulate them, as well as the Electoral Commission and Fiji Elections Office, on the peaceful elections.

“I congratulate Rear Admiral (Ret) Voreqe Bainimarama on his election victory and on becoming Prime Minister.”

Mr Piebalgs said he looked forward to working closely with Fiji, a key partner for the EU in the Pacific, on the strengthening of those institutions and civil society organisations that would play a key role in ensuring the further consolidation of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.

“I look forward to enhancing bilateral political dialogue and exploring opportunities for closer cooperation, in the interests of both Fiji and the European Union.”