Press release on the Ministerial Dialogue Meeting between HR/VP Federica Mogherini and Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in Brussels
HR/VP Federica Mogherini and Nigeria's Foreign Affairs minister Geoffrey Onyeama met in Brussels today, holding the 6th Nigeria-EU ministerial dialogue. The Nigerian Minister of Interior and the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment also attended the meeting. The Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs also met with the EU Peace and Security Committee while the Minister of Interior had an exchange with the EU Commissioner Avramopoulos, and CTC De Kerchove.
The ministerial dialogue, the first after the election of Nigerian President Buhari in 2015, was a key event in deepening the existing EU-Nigeria partnership, providing the opportunity to discuss a broad range of topics.
HR/VP Mogherini and Minister Onyeama agreed to deepen the EU-Nigeria's strategic engagement.
On security, the EU welcomed the progress made by the Nigerian armed forces in the fight against Boko Haram and assured Nigeria of its continued support. They welcomed the Abuja Security Summit to take place in May 2016. The importance of a comprehensive approach was highlighted by both parties, including humanitarian aid, reconstruction, socio-economic development and respect of human rights by security forces. Nigeria welcomed the substantial humanitarian aid provided by the European Union in support of the affected population. Both parties agreed to take steps to expand their cooperation in countering terrorism and violent extremism.
With respect to migration, the HR/VP Federica Mogherini and Minister Onyeama, and Commissionner Avramopoulos and the Minister of interior, have discussed the next steps to implement the Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility (CAMM), signed in March 2015, and the Action Plan of the Valletta Summit on migration, held in November 2015. It was agreed that the EU and Nigeria will work together to tackle irregular migration, including return and readmission, and to better take advantage of the opportunities provided by regular migration.
Both welcomed the fact that the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, established at the Valletta summit, would also support actions in Nigeria and the neighboring Lake Chad countries.
The situation in West Africa and the wider Gulf of Guinea was also on the agenda, including the situation in the Sahel and the continued crisis in Libya. HR/VP Federica Mogherini recognised the key role Nigeria is playing in the region and beyond with regard to peace and security, also in its capacity as a member of the AU PSC, and stated that the EU will continue to support these efforts. Burundi was addressed as one of the urgent situations to focus engagement on.
HR/VP Mogherini commended the steps taken by the new Nigerian administration in fighting corruption and assured that the EU would continue to assist through capacity building activities for the Nigerian anti-corruption agencies and their participation in international initiatives.
HR/VP Mogherini and Minister Onyeama reiterated their commitment to a long-term trade and investment partnership, including the organisation of the fifth edition of the EU-Nigeria Business Forum this year. They also discussed the signature process of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and broader trade and investment issues, which will be further discussed between the State Minister and Commissioner Malmstrom tomorrow.