The Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Charlot Salwai TABIMASMAS will be attending the 4th EU- Vanuatu Enhanced Political Dialogue scheduled to take place on 24th January in Brussels, Kingdom of Belgium.
The Revised ACP/EU Cotonou Partnership Agreement makes provision for a more systematic and formal dialogue under Article 8 in relation to the 3 essential elements dealing with human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law.
Furthermore the Cotonou Partnership Agreement calls for a more transparent and inclusive process where the Enhanced Political Dialogue must be held regularly between the EU and an ACP state in order to discuss openly and bilaterally a host of fundamental and paramount issues of both interests within the Development Co-operation Framework and to identify and agree on new mechanisms with a view to improving and enhancing the effectiveness of this co-operation in particular as it related to the NIP and Budget support, an area where Vanuatu has benefited quite substantively from even in the framework of the 9th EDF.
The first Enhanced Political Dialogue between the EU and Vanuatu was convened in 2008 in Port Vila under the French Presidency at that time. Consequently and over the past few years all bi- annual Dialogues have always taken place in Port Vila. At the last one held in October of 2015 in Port Vila, it was collectively decided that the next EPD between the two sides will take place in Brussels at the seat of the European Union and the head quarter ‘s of the European Council.
In Brussels the RT Hon Prime Minister Salwai is expected to Co- Chair the Enhanced Political Dialogue along with his EU colleague and issues to be discussed between the 2 delegations comprised in principle of the following :
- Recent Developments in Vanuatu
- Recent Developments in the EU
- Developments in Vanuatu as it relates to the implementation of the 11th EDF Programming
- Relations between Vanuatu and the EU including the Budget Support, the National Indicative Program as well as the Visa Waiver Agreement.
This is the first time ever since the Independence of the Republic of Vanuatu that a Prime Minister and Head of Government will be visiting the Kingdom of Belgium on an Official capacity and indeed is a clear manifestation on the strong political commitment that the present Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Charlot Salwai attaches to the growing and increasing profound Vanuatu and EU relations that stems back to as early as 1980. Such visit is being organized in a time and a period when relations with the European Union has become so important considering the increase in the Financial envelope available to Vanuatu under the 11th EDF both in the context of the National Indicative Program and the Budget Support.
The Prime Minister is expected to be accompanied by at least 2 State Ministers, 2 Members of Parliament and Senior Officials in charge of aid coordination and Development Cooperation in both the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and External Trade.
According to diplomatic sources within the Vanuatu Embassy in the EU co-ordinating this High Level visit by the Head of Government, Ambassador Joy confirmed that in Brussels Prime Minister Salwai will have the opportunity to meet His Excellency Mr Jean Claude Junker the President of the European Commission and Mr Niven MIMICA EU Commissioner in Charge of Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid who is responsible for all EU aid to Vanuatu over the past 30 years.
The Head of Government will also meet the Secretary General of the ACP Group of States His Excellency Dr Patrick Gomes and address a Special ACP Committee of Ambassador’s that is meeting in honor of the Vanuatu Head of Government’s official visit to the ACP House.
The Prime Minister delegation is expected to depart on 21st and to return back to Capital on 29th January 2017 respectively.