Liberia, EU Reaffirm Strong Political Partnership -Make Several Mutual Commitments

The EU underlined that Team Europe (EU + Member States) remains committed to supporting the implementation of the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), as trustworthy and durable partners, delivering to the people of Liberia. The two partners in their meeting discussions also commit themselves to Peaceful; free, fair, transparent and inclusive Elections; bilateral EU-Liberia cooperation; adherence to the principles and Human Rights; and an enabling Business and investment climate in the country, amongst others.

The commitments by the two sides were contained in a Joint Statement of Affirmation of Their Strong Political Partnership of Liberia and The European Union In the 11th EU – Liberia Partnership Dialogue held in Monrovia on June 22, 2023.

The Government of the Republic of Liberia (GoL) and the European Union (EU) met on 22 June 2023for the 11th edition of the EU-Liberia Partnership Dialogue, formerly known as the Political Dialogue. The Dialogue was co-chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Ambassador Dee-Maxwell SaahKemayah Sr., and the Head of the EU Delegation to Liberia, Ambassador Laurent Delahousse.

Members of the Liberian delegation  at the 11th EU – Liberia Partnership Dialogue were Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Hon. Samuel Tweah; the Minister of Justice, Hon. Frank Musah Dean, Jr.; the Acting Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Mr. Hassan A. Karneh;  and a Commissioner of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Hon. Boakai A. Dukuly.

Others are Deputy Minister for Administration/Commerce & Industry, Hon. Wilfred Bangura; Chairman of the Independent National Commission for Human Rights, Cllr. Dempster Brown; and the Chairman of the Governance Commission, Hon. Garrison Yealue, while the EU Member States were represented by the Ambassador of France, H.E. Mr. Michaël Roux; Ambassador of Sweden, H.E. Mr. Urban Sjöström; Ambassador of Germany, H.E. Mr. Jakob Haselhuber, and the Chargé d’affaires of Ireland, Mr. Simon McCormac.

During the Dialogue, both parties addressed a selected number of issues of mutual interest. This exchange took place in the context of the 50th Anniversary of EU-Liberia relations. In 1973, the Commission of the European Economic Community established its first office in Liberia, which has since been upgraded to a full diplomatic mission, the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Liberia.

Besides, the EU underlined that Team Europe (EU + Member States) remains committed to supporting the implementation of the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), as trustworthy and durable partners, delivering to the people of Liberia.

On 5 June, Ambassador Laurent Delahousse and the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Hon. Samuel D. Tweah Jr., proceeded with the signature of four new support programmes of the European Union to Liberia, totaling 80 million euros / 88 million US dollars. These programs will add to the EU-Liberia development partnership from 2021 to 2024, for which a total of 191 million euros / 220 million US dollars have been earmarked, the statement said.

The Issues Discussed

Regarding issues addressed and the details of the discussions, both sides shared their call for free, fair, transparent, inclusive, credible and peaceful elections, which they believe could stand out as a positive example in the region.

The EU welcomed the adoption by all political parties of a new Code of Conduct, the 2023 Farmington River Declaration, committing to a fair, tolerant and peaceful electoral process. The EU also expressed its general support to the National Elections Commission and the Liberian security institutions in carrying out their mandate during the upcoming election.

Upon invitation by the Government, as a way to support peaceful elections, the European Union is preparing to launch an independent Electoral Observation Mission (EOM) to Liberia, which will be announced at a later stage, the statement maintained.

The Dialogue also discussed bilateral EU-Liberia cooperation whereby the statement said the EU has earmarked 191 million euros to Liberia for the first phase of the EU support programme from 2021 to 2024, noting that the EU side stressed that, through the new EU cooperation instrument, NDICI – Global Europe, it aims to bring its strong partnership with Liberia to a new level.

The EU side also raised its clear expectations in terms of good governance by Liberian State institutions. In this 50th Anniversary year of their relation, the EU and its Member States are looking forward to continuing and deepening their cooperation with the Government of Liberia, and all Liberian and other parties, the statement contained.

The joint statement said this partnership is based on genuine needs and mutual respect, but also on transparency, predictability, proper accountability and governance by all institutions concerned in view of increasing the effectiveness of EU support. The EU and its Member States have stood and will continue to stand by the people of Liberia.

According to the statement, the EU and its Member States have decided to act together through “Team Europe initiatives” in two priority sectors: “Safe and Sustainable Food Systems” and “Forestry and Biodiversity”. The Team Europe initiatives ensure coordinated efforts of the EU and its Member State to increase the effectiveness of their support, aiming at making a real change for Liberians and the sectors concerned.

The EU further expressed concern over the rapid rate of deforestation. Both sides convened that the results of the Forestry and Climate Forum in February 2022 and the 10th Joint Implementation Committee of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forestry in June 2023 must be implemented, as the the EU side stressed that with the new EU deforestation legislation, only certified timber and agricultural products will have access in the future to the European market.

Concerning discussion on human rights, the EU recognized the Government of Liberia’s commitment to comply with Liberia’s international Human Rights obligations and the actions undertaken in this regard.

“In follow up to the conclusions of the most recent session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on Liberia, this year’s dialogue attached a particular emphasis to the importance of continuing the fight against the high levels of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) to which Liberian women and girls are exposed.

“On the issue of female genital mutilation (FGM), both parties welcomed the decision to ban FGM in Montserrado County proclaimed by the Head of the National Council of Traditional Chiefs and Elders of Liberia (NACCEL), chief ZanzanKarwor, on 6 February, as well as decision by the Traditional Chiefs and Elders of Liberia in February 2022 to suspend throughout Liberia the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) for a period of three years,” the statement averred.

The EU also encouraged the Government to lead in implementing other measures on the social, economic and cultural fronts, particularly at the community level, that are necessary to make headway in the fight against FGM. The EU and its Member States remain committed to continue working with the Government of Liberia, its institutions and the traditional communities, chiefs and elders in this regard to support the full implementation of this decision.

The European Union said it welcomed the fact that Liberia reversed, for the first time in five years, a negative trend in the World Press Freedom Index from Reporters Without Borders and hoped that this positive trajectory for media and civil society would continue without setbacks.

Discussing the Foreign Policy aspect of the dialogue,  the Republic of Liberia presented its candidature to the United Nations Security Council for the biennium 2026-2027. Both sides had an exchange on their strong and active foreign policy cooperation between the European Union and the Republic of Liberia built on shared values, and their joint efforts multilaterally and regionally to promote peace, human rights, the values of liberal democracy and respect for international rule of law.

Accordingly, both parties condemned in the strongest possible terms Russia’s unprecedented military aggression against Ukraine– an independent and sovereign State – in flagrant violation of international law and the core principles on which the international rules-based order is built.

Both parties also called on Russia to immediately cease the hostilities, withdraw its military from Ukraine and fully respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence. Russia’s aggression was also affecting the global economy, driving food, fuel and gas prices up. The EU and its Member States and others will support humanitarian partners, such as the World Food Program, to sustain food security.

The statement also indicates affirmation of support by both parties for the transition processes to return to constitutional democratic order in the Republics of Guinea, Mali and Burkina Faso, in close collaboration with ECOWAS.

In another development, the parties discussed Business and investment climate in Liberia during which the Republic of Liberia presented its candidature to the United Nations Security Council for the biennium 2026-2027.

The EU is currently formulating a 25 million euro / 27 million US dollar programme on private sector development in Liberia that will build market-driven, green and inclusive value chains, creation of Liberian jobs and sustainable development as both sides had an exchange on the need for improvements in the regulatory environment, transparency and governance to facilitate the establishment of more private companies and creating more Liberian jobs.

As Team Europe, the EU and its Member States are investing in youth skills development and the matching of supply and demand on the labor market through their coordinated Technical Vocational Education and Training Programmes (TVET). Currently, the combined Team Europe in TVET in Liberia investment is 85 million US dollars, according to the statement.

The EU said it welcomed the 1st Trade Policy Review of the Republic of Liberia in the World Trade Organization since its accession in 2016, and informed the body about its new regulation creating a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM). Both sides agreed to revert to this issue in their next dialogue.

Their Dialogue final discussion in the joint statement concerns recognition of the Liberian Official Passports and the issue of Schengen visas.  Liberia recalled its position on the recognition of Liberian Official Passports and issuance of Schengen visas within Liberia. The EU presented expected progress in the delivery of Schengen Visas in Monrovia by the French Embassy in Abidjan.

Finally, both parties in the statement reaffirmed their commitment to continuing to hold regular Political Dialogue meetings and following-up on their conclusions. They agreed that the next (12th) EU-Liberia Partnership Dialogue would take place in the first half of2024,


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