The new Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to the Pacific, Barbara Plinkert presented her credentials to the President of Fiji, Ratu Wiliame Katonivere, at a State House ceremony today.

On this occasion, Ambassador Plinkert stressed the importance of the EU’s relationship with Fiji: “I accept with great pleasure and honour this new posting to your beautiful country. The European Union and Fiji are strong, like-minded political, development and economic partners. The European Union and the Pacific region have a long-standing tradition of cooperation and partnership dating back to 1975.

I look forward to further deepening our relationship with Fiji, including in a regional context, and continuing working together on a range of issues from climate change, natural disasters and human rights to regional cooperation, energy field and oceans to name a few.”

Ambassador Plinkert who prior to her posting in Fiji was the Head of Division for Southeast Asia and ASEAN at the European External Action Service in Brussels, said: “The new Partnership Agreement between the EU and the OACPS (Organisation of African Caribbean and Pacific Countries), to be signed in Samoa in November, is a major milestone in our region-to-region relations.

The Agreement contains a specific Protocol for the comprehensive Pacific-EU relations defining priority areas of our cooperation. This will make our engagement more meaningful and more strategic, so that we can respond better to the needs of the Pacific partners and develop a common agenda based on shared priorities.”

Ambassador Plinkert represents the European Union in the Pacific region, under the authority of the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The Delegation of the European Union to the Pacific covers 13 Pacific Island countries.