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Friday, October 19, 2007

European Union launches new development strategies with 13 PICs including the Solomons

The European Union signed Country Strategy Papers with 13 Pacific States in the margins of the 38th Pacific Island Forum in Tonga today. These Pacific States are the first to sign the country strategy papers in the framework of the 10th European Development Fund allocating them €276 (US$394) million for the period 2008-2013.

Three priorities have been set: good governance, sustainable management of natural resources and regional integration.

Louis Michel, the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, said: "With this signing, the Pacific Islands will be closer to Europe – perhaps out of sight but always on our minds. I am delighted to see that agreed strategies are on the way now for concrete projects for the benefit of the peoples of the Pacific Region".

The country strategy papers signed today set out the Commission’s aid programmes for 13 Pacific States and earmark € 276 (US$394) million for development projects in the fields of sustainable management of natural resources (renewable energy in particular), economic growth and good governance. The European Union’s strategy for the Pacific adopted in 2006 is now on its way thanks to the adoption of the country strategy papers.

Mr Michel also affirmed that the European Union strives to be a 'genuine useful partner' by adopting a more focused development action to address current dominant issues such as governance and regionalism within this region.

The 13 Pacific States in question are: Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Work on the, Fiji and Timor Leste Strategy Papers are under way.

A Special Consultative Session European Union-Pacific Islands Forum is planned for tomorrow with a view to launching an enhanced political dialogue between the two regions. Now the European Union and the States of the Pacific Region can regularly discuss on subject of common interest: political and security issues, trade, climate change as well as social and economic development.

Source: Pacific Magazine

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