EU commends PM Rabuka for his leadership – support for Fiji reaffirmed

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The European Union (EU) has commended our Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sitiveni Rabuka for his exemplary leadership towards Fiji’s national development and the Pacific’s solidarity.

The EU’s strong support was conveyed to PM Rabuka during an introductory courtesy call received Monday by the Ambassador and Head of the Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific, Sujiro Seam.

On behalf of the Government and the people of Fiji, PM Rabuka conveyed his earnest appreciation to the European Union for supporting Fiji over the years.

He said Fiji looks forward to working closely with the EU to advance the economic sustainability, governance and human rights, and climate change and disaster risk reduction, among other issues that matter most to Fiji and the Pacific.

The Head of Government welcomed the EU’s commitment to further support Fiji through the provision of funding for climate adaptation and initiatives to build sustainable livelihoods in Fiji.

He also acknowledged the EU’s support for Fiji’s rebuilding efforts from climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, notably through the provision of humanitarian aid, emergency supplies and technical assistance, to mention a few.

As the Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Prime Minister Rabuka thanked the EU for its ongoing efforts to engage with the Pacific, through the EU Indo-Pacific strategy.

In response, Ambassador Seam congratulated PM Rabuka on the recent elections and also commended him for the impressive outcomes achieved in less than 100 days.

“With everyone else we observed with great interest the first steps of this new Government and we are extremely happy with the new developments undertaken, not only in Fiji, but also at the regional and global stage.

“I just came back from a tour of the Northern Pacific and the mood there was extremely joyful and positive on the announcement that Kiribati would rejoin the Forum family. Later this week, there will be a Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Retreat which will complement the positive outcomes.”

He further mentioned that Fiji and the European Union are very strong defenders of democracy, human rights and rule of law, especially on the international stage.

“I thank the Prime Minister for the unwavering support Fiji is providing not only as a country but also as the Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum on the issue of Ukraine and the diplomatic efforts to bring an end to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

Ambassador Seam reasserted the EU’s commitment to enhance economic cooperation with Fiji.

“The economic partnership will be strengthened through the formal ratification of the Economic Partnership Agreement and through the ongoing efforts, spearheaded by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance to take the necessary steps to remove Fiji from the list of non-cooperative jurisdiction on tax matters,” he added.

“We have just confirmed to the Prime Minister that we will provide the budget support on climate change.

“We can have some early wins, very soon we will be opening the office of the European Investment Bank in Fiji which, will cover the whole of the Pacific.

“I will have another opportunity to come and visit the Prime Minister Rabuka on that occasion which will take place on the 7th of March.

Ambassador Seam said that the EU looks forward to welcoming Prime Minister Rabuka to Europe.

“That will be the occasion to reopen the Embassy of Fiji to the European Union in Brussels.

“In the same way as the European Union has a strong delegation here in Fiji to cover for the whole of the Pacific, the Fiji Mission in Brussels will not only cover the European Union but most of the member states of the European Union,” Ambassador Seam elaborated.

He highlighted that the European Union is keen to deepen cooperation with Fiji in areas of maritime surveillance, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, cyber security and other issues aligned to Fiji’s national priorities.

SOURCE: FIJI GOVT/PACNEWS