Seychelles and EU hold policy dialogue session


The Seychelles (right) and EU delegations during the talks

The Seychelles delegation was led by Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean-Paul Adam, while the EU delegation was led by Alessandro Mariani, head of the delegation of the EU, based in Mauritius. 

The meeting, which took place at the Maison Quéau de Quinssy last week, was held as part of the Cotonou Agreement signed between ACP (African, Caribbean, and Pacific) states and the EU in 2000 as a means of boosting sustainable development for ACP countries.

Under Article 8 of this agreement local representatives of the EU can meet with government officials to hold constructive and participatory discussions on areas and issues of concern.

Among issues discussed were the fight against piracy, the development challenges of Small Island Developing States, the challenges of climate change, EU-Seychelles cooperation and the local economic and political situation.

The policy dialogue has allowed the Seychelles government to discuss ways in which Seychelles and the EU can strengthen their cooperation, particularly against the backdrop of the global economic crisis.

The partnership between the EU and Seychelles has gone from strength to strength, and Minister Adam has hailed the relations as being “particularly close and fruitful”. 

In relation to piracy, the leadership of Seychelles was highlighted by the EU delegation, and it was noted that the model for piracy prosecutions and transfers that has been pioneered jointly by Seychelles and the EU was widely seen as the most effective means to deal with the problem and was allowing other states to also engage in burden sharing in prosecuting pirates, for example Mauritius.

In the context of strengthening cooperation, the EU and Seychelles hope to build on successful partnerships in the environmental sector, as well as recent landmark projects financed by the European Investment Bank such as the fibre-optic undersea cable and the support to the strengthening of the water investment plan. 

Minister Adam thanked the EU for its flexibility in developing such support methods that blend affordable loans with grant equity to facilitate the implementation of the projects.
  It was noted that the fibre-optic cable project was the first of its kind and provided a model for development cooperation with other small island developing states.

The Seychelles and the EU are also resolved to work together further in strengthening sustainability such as through exploring possibilities in terms of renewable energy.

The other EU delegates taking part in the session included Seychelles based French ambassador, Philippe Delacroix, as holding the local presidency of the EU, along with outgoing British high commissioner to Seychelles, Matthew Forbes, and non-resident Belgian ambassador to Seychelles, Bart Ouvry.

Delegates representing Seychelles included the principal secretary for Foreign Affairs, Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, special advisor Jeanette D’Offay, and the director for Development and Regional Integration, Kenneth Racombo.

The EU’s current development portfolio with Seychelles stands at €37 million over the past five years, the largest portions of which (€21.5m, 58%) have gone towards general budget support for areas such as economic reforms, climate change and education.

Other areas supported by EU cooperation are fisheries (15%), infrastructure (11%), solid waste management (8%), biodiversity (2%), governance (3%), technical cooperation (1%), and anti-piracy (2%).

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