4th EU-Mauritius Political Dialogue : Discussions focus on the future partnership

By European Union

The 2016 Political Dialogue session between the Republic of Mauritius and theEuropean Union as provided for under Article 8 of the Cotonou PartnershipAgreement was held today in Balaclava.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, the HonourableEtienne Sinatambou, and the Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic ofMauritius, H.E. Marjaana Sall, accompanied by representatives from eight Member States,held discussions on the current and future partnership between the EU and Mauritius.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, the HonourableEtienne Sinatambou, in his welcoming address highlighted:

“The strong bilateral relations between Mauritius and the European Union are founded on thecoreprinciplesofdemocracy,ruleoflaw,upholdingHumanRightsandmutualunderstanding, respect and trust. We have experienced, over the last forty years, anexemplary North-South partnership between the European Union and the African, Caribbeanand Pacific Group of countries through the Lomé Conventions and the present CotonouAgreement. This Partnership has provided a solid foundation for the economic developmentof Mauritius”

In her opening statement, the Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic ofMauritius, H.E. Marjaana Sall said:

- "Today we held discussions on our partnership and on the way we can work together toaddress global challenges such as Climate Change, Sustainable Development Goals, RegionalEconomic Integration, and Peace and Security. The EU stands ready to assist theGovernment in achieving its vision to evolve to a high income country. Our bilateral supportunder the 11th European Development Fund will focus on tertiary education and research andinnovation in line with the Government priorities to improve the human capital base in thecountry, and contribute to unlock growth. There are also other funding opportunities underthe regional programme for Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean in supportof Regional Economic Integration and Sustainable Management of natural resources whichare priorities for Mauritius."

The EU and Mauritius underlined the quality of their longstanding partnership, andreaffirmed the strong economic and cultural ties between them.

The Parties exchanged views on issues of common interest such as the Economic PartnershipAgreement (EPA), Peace and Security including the fight against Terrorism, combatingCorruption and promoting Good Governance, addressing the effects of Climate Change, theSustainable Development Goals and Regional Economic Integration amongst others.agreed to explore ways to work together in addressing these global issues.

The Parties reviewed the political and economic situation in Mauritius and in Europe.

The EU confirmed its commitment to continue to support the Government in achieving itsambition to evolve from the current upper middle income country status to a high incomecountry. The EU bilateral support under the 11th European Development Fund will focus ontertiary education and research and innovation in line with the Government priorities tocontribute to transforming Mauritius into a knowledge-based and innovative society.

They highlighted the importance of regional integration and trade for Mauritius economicdevelopment. They acknowledged that the European Union remained an important externalpartner for Mauritius. The European Union commended Mauritius for the interim EconomicPartnership Agreement (EPA) signed with the European Union in 2009 and confirmed itswillingness to continue providing assistance to Mauritius for the implementation of theagreement. They agreed to consider the possibility of the deepening and widening of theinterim EPA, leaving the possibility for other ESA countries to join when they areready. Mauritius reiterated its commitment to conclude a full and comprehensive EPA withthe EU.

Both sides also discussed the impact of the EU Free Trade Agreements on the ACP-EUPartnership.

They underlined the historic climate agreement brokered in December 2015 andexchanged views on the implementation of commitments taken in Paris. The EU also tooknote of the participation of Mauritius in the Switch Africa Green programme and stated that itwill continue to support climate action in Mauritius and build resilience in Small IslandDeveloping States.

The parties also discussed international security threats and its impact on the region. TheEuropean Union announced that Peace, Security and Regional Stability were among thepriorities addressed under regional cooperation.

The two sides reviewed issues relating to Good Governance and the fight against Corruption.

The EU expressed appreciation on the determination of Mauritius to combat Corruption andencouraged it to continue consolidating Good Governance.

The Parties re-affirmed their commitment to the implementation of the Fisheries partnershipagreement and to the curbing of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing with a view toensuring sustainable exploitation of Fisheries resources. They also focused on the need forcapacity building in this area.

They discussed the future of EU-Mauritius partnership in the context of the Post CotonouAgreement that will come into force after 2020. The Parties expressed their confidence onthe future of their consistent Partnership within a new Framework to be negotiated. Mauritiushighlighted the importance of Food Security and safety and the evolution of the MauritiusSugar Industry within this Framework. Both sides agreed to work towards a higher valueadded Partnership focusing on areas of mutual interest.

Both Parties reiterated their commitment to regular Political Dialogue under Article 8 of theCotonou Agreement.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, the HonourableEtienne Sinatambou led the Mauritian delegation comprising five other Ministers, namely theHonourable Ravi Yerrigadoo, Attorney General, the Honourable Mahen Kumar Seeruttun,Minister of Agro Industry and Food Security, the Honourable Sudarshan Bhadain, Minister ofFinancial Services, Good Governance and Institutional Reforms, the Honorable PremdutKoonjoo, Minister of Ocean Economy,.Marine Resources, Fisheries, shipping and OuterIslands and the Honourable Raj Dayal, Minister of Environment, Sustainable Development,and Disaster and Beach Management,

They welcomed the significant progress of their partnership and reaffirmed their commitmentto the principles of Good Governance, Democracy and respect for Human Rights which arethe essential and fundamental elements of their relationship.

The Ambassador of the European Union, H.E. Marjaana Sall, led the EU party. She wasaccompanied by the representatives from eight Member States, namely: Ireland, Spain,France, United Kingdom, Croatia, Austria, Portugal and Finland.