The European Union (EU) has criticized the insecurity situation in Nigeria, labelling it as a setback to the country’s development.
According to the EU, national stakeholders are worried about disturbing events unfolding in the country, such as terror attacks, armed banditry and organised crime, including kidnapping and human trafficking, and many more.
On this note, the EU responded by supporting government efforts to fight against terrorism, radicalization and violent extremism to restore the country to a stable state.
Naija News understands that the Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Nigeria, Ambassador Samuela Isopi, stated this in Abuja yesterday while addressing a press conference on the forthcoming Europe Day 2022.
Isopi in her submission boasts that the Union remains Nigeria’s strongest trade partner over the years.
She went on to disclose information on several issues, including the European Union’s engagements with Nigeria and with ECOWAS.
Isopi doubles as the head of the EU Delegation to the rest of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), also revealed that the total EU-Nigeria trade in 2021 stood at €28.7 billion.
She put the EU’s imports from Nigeria at €17.5 billion with exports to the country in 2021 at €11.2 billion.
The EU Head disclosed that the trade balance in 2021 stood at €6.4 billion in favour of Nigeria, while the year-on-year change between 2020 and 2021 recorded a surplus of 25.8 per cent.
She said: “The EU is Nigeria’s most important trading partner accounting for 20.9 per cent of Nigeria’s trade with the world.”
She added: “EU is the first export destination for Nigeria, accounting for 25.4 per cent of its exports,” while the EU is second in Nigeria’s imports from the world accounting for 16.1 per cent of its total imports.
Isopi, however, noted that the EU was oftentimes not seen as the most important business and trading partner of Nigeria because it, “is seen with the eye of different countries with varying trade and bilateral relationship with Nigeria.”
She said this was a misconception, maintaining that the EU is a trading bloc and should be seen as such.
Isopi said: “The recent launch of the Multiannual Indicative Programme (2021-2027) last February, is an important step in reinforcing and concretising the EU’s cooperation with Nigeria. It will enable the EU and Nigeria to continue working together on programmes and projects that are built on shared objectives, principles and values.”
She recalled that the recent visit to Nigeria of the Executive Vice President of the European Commission, Ms Margrethe Vestager focused on a positive economic, innovation, youth and digital agenda in line with the outcome and objectives of the EU-AU Summit.
One of the plans to further improve trade and bilateral relationship with Nigeria according to Isopi, was the EU-Nigeria Business Forum being organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
She noted that the event is scheduled to take place in Lagos, between June 30th and July 1, under the theme: ‘Nigeria and the new world economy,’ which would address key issues relating to doing business in Nigeria – the opportunities, challenges adding that the second day would be devoted to EU involvement in the agricultural sector.
Isopi reiterated that with several non-state armed groups challenging the state’s monopoly of violence in different portions of the territory, the EU is ready to give a helping hand to end terrorism in Nigeria, Naija News reports.