Celebrating a Strong EU-PNG Partnership on Europe Day

By: Roselyn Erehe May 13, 2024

EU Ambassador to PNG, H.E Jacques Fradin, delivering his speech emphasizing the significance of the EU day- 9th May, and the enduring partnership between EU and PNG, at the EU Day Reception in APEC Haus, Port Moresby. -image provided EU Delegation.

On Europe Day, the European Union Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, His Excellency Jacques Fradin, delivered a passionate speech emphasizing the significance of the day and the enduring partnership between the EU and PNG.

Ambassador Fradin said, “Some might wonder what is the 9th of May celebration all about?  It’s not an independence day, nor a victory, it is about a political declaration considered as the founding vision for the European Union.”

The day commemorates a pivotal moment in European history when French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman proposed a visionary cooperation initiative in 1950. This proposal laid the groundwork for the European Union by uniting former adversaries France and Germany under a common authority to manage coal and steel production, thus fostering economic integration and, ultimately, peace.

Ambassador Fradin highlighted the EU's role as an alliance for peace, stability, prosperity, and freedom. In a world facing global challenges, such as the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and crises in the Middle East, the EU and PNG stand as close partners in upholding the multilateral order and international law, he said.

The EU Day Reception was held at APEC Haus in Port Moresby. The Head of Delegation of the EU to PNG joined diplomatic staff from various embassies in PNG, the French Embassy, representatives from PNG's government, local business leaders, and civil society organizations working on EU-PNG relations joined the event.

Academics and researchers specializing in EU-Pacific relations, expatriates, members of the local diplomatic community from other countries, invited guests from international organizations operating in PNG, stakeholders, partners and media representatives covering diplomatic events were also present.

Since the establishment of the EU Delegation in Port Moresby in 1977, the EU has supported PNG's nation-building journey across various sectors, including economic development, education, and governance.

Ambassador Fradin emphasized the EU's commitment to PNG's immense potential and its people's rich culture, pledging continued support and collaboration.

Acknowledging PNG's leadership in global climate negotiations, the ambassador highlighted EU initiatives supporting climate action and rural entrepreneurship in PNG.

“While we are proud of the results achieved until now, we are not static. As such, we are currently designing a new programme, which will provide direct support to the PNG national budget and will reward the reaching of policy targets for water, forest and energy infrastructure, included in the PNG Medium-Term Development Plan IV,” he said.

“In particular, the EU recognises and commends the leadership role of PNG in global climate negotiations. We are aiming towards longer-term solutions to address Climate Change and its effects.

“In this context, we have launched in October 2023, with the Prime Minister James Marape, the Forestry-Climate Change-Biodiversity programme in PNG, which is supporting the preservation of forests and biodiversity, decarbonisation of energy production and providing economic opportunities for forest-dependent communities. It is one of the biggest EU action in the world on climate change,” he added.

The ambassador also underscored ongoing efforts to advance good governance, human rights, and gender equality, including the deployment of projects addressing gender-based violence.

“Meanwhile, we continue to support rural entrepreneurship in the country, through the EU STREIT Programme, the biggest EU project in the Pacific, as well as the water and sanitation priorities, through our own WASH interventions.”

The EU-Pacific Economic Partnership Agreement, implemented in PNG since 2009, has been instrumental in enhancing trade relations, particularly in the fisheries sector.

Ambassador Fradin expressed the EU's intent to broaden the agreement's scope to other priority value chains, such as cocoa, coffee, coconut, and vanilla, to attract European investors.

Despite challenges in promoting European investments, the ambassador commended the collaboration with France and European companies operating in PNG, emphasizing the need to address remaining challenges while deepening partnerships.

Ambassador Fradin expressed confidence in the EU-PNG partnership's continued growth and its contribution to a more peaceful and prosperous future.

As PNG prepares to celebrate its Golden Jubilee, the EU remains committed to supporting the country's development journey and ensuring its rightful place in the global community, he said.

“I also want to underline the excellent cooperation we have with the PNG Government and its agencies, the civil society actors and the business community. Together, we can make a change for a brighter future.

“The partnership between the EU and PNG is built on shared challenges, as well as on seizing new opportunities for cooperation, and we look forward to consolidate our current actions and enhance our partnership to new areas of common interest,” Ambassador Fradin added.

An exemplary support through provisions of funding is the recent EU provision of emergency funding on April 25th through the “Emergency Toolbox” to assist in unforeseen crises, such as earthquakes and flooding in PNG.

Through the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), the EU has made available PGK 807,000 (Euro 200,000) for immediate emergency assistance to people affected by disasters in the East Sepik and Highlands provinces in PNG.

The funding, channeled through the International Organization for Migration (IOM), provides shelter materials, essential items, clean water, and hygiene products for affected communities.

“Over the past weeks, floods and earthquakes have cost lives and left a trail of destruction in PNG. The European Union’s humanitarian assistance will support the delivery of essential aid to address the urgent needs of the most vulnerable communities in the hardest-hit areas,” Ambassador Fradin said.

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