EU To Continue Partnership With Nigeria To Promote Democratic Governance
The European Union (EU) Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, has pledged to continue to partner with Nigeria through multidimensional engagement, to promote democratic governance.
Amb. Ketil Karlsen, Head of the Delegation, made the pledge in his address at the Europe National Day and celebration of Democratic Governance organised by the European High Commission in Abuja.
He said that this had become important because democratic governance remained the core of the EU and also the defining basis of every activity been carried out in Nigeria.
“We all know 2019 election is near, therefore our engagement in supporting Nigeria values; vision, policies and initiatives can never be about exporting one-to-one European recipes.
“It is about true partnership and integrated approach, where we make use of all the different instruments that we have in our availability to support your activity and mission.
“There is no better means for that than through democratic platforms, building on progress seen over the last years in Nigeria and making use of consistent participation of EU observers since 1999.
“It is that spirit of integrated approach that guides us in all the work we do in Nigeria, with the 1.5 billion Euros support we have provided through development cooperation over the last decade.
Responding, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, said that the relationship between Nigeria and EU did not exactly start democratically.
According to him, we have been able to build strong relationship with EU, with the onset of the present leadership administration, we have engaged in serious discussion with the parliament. Onyeama said,
“Nigeria is an important country for EU; the democratic value that we share is of great importance.
“Illegal migration is an area of huge priority for our cooperation with EU; it is a major issue for the union.
“We will do everything we can to ensure our citizens migrate legally and with the help of EU we are moving on in agreement to make it easier for legal migrants to travel without danger.”
He identified vocational training, security, governance, trade and economic cooperation, to be areas Nigeria has benefitted from the partnership with EU.
Meanwhile, Senate President Bukola Saraki, described the anniversary celebration to be apt, in terms of providing opportunity for knowledge sharing in EU‘s democracy and development cooperation.
According to Saraki, I have no doubt that the conversation in this room will further help to add value to cordial relation between Nigeria and EU.
“It will also help us advance those democratic values we share between us; I commend the partnership between Nigeria and EU because it has been sustained since the past 20 years.
“You have been a true dependable ally in our democratic existence; no doubt we shall continue to enjoy collaboration and partnership on many fronts across range of issues of interest.
“Where we have concerns we shall always take the opportunity to share them with you, so you will learn in such area,” Saraki said.
He thanked the EU’s commitment on fights against terrorism and the support been provided towards conduct of 2015 election and appealed to them not to relent as 2019 polls draw near.
The EU is a political and economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe.