Nigeria has within the last one year maintained effective diplomatic, social and economic relations with all the other countries of Western Europe. Including Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, Holy See, Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal and Spain.
Nigeria and the EU have effective frameworks of dialogue which are convened regularly on annual basis. Nigeria hosted the local dialogue on Migration on 27 January 2012 and a week later, on Human Rights and Good Governance. The outcomes from the two events were subsequently reviewed by the Senior Officials Meeting which culminated in a Ministerial Dialogue.
The Ministerial meeting between Nigeria and the European Union (EU) took place in Abuja, Nigeria on 8 February, 2012 under the Co-Chairmanship of the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugenga Ashiru, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of he Kingdom of Denmark, H. E. Mr. Vilely Soevndal. The latter represented Catherine Ashton, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the European Commission.
The platform provided both parties the opportunity to reaffirm their long-standing commitments to closer cooperation based on shared values and interests, as contained in the Nigeria-EU Joint Way Forward, both believing in peace and security, human rights, democracy and good governance, equality and tolerance as ways of developing prosperous and egalitarian societies. In accordance with the Nigeria-EU Joint Way Forward, the two sides agreed that the core values which Nigeria and the EU share, are key to overcoming terrorism. These values include an open society, adherence to the rule of law and respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights. The EU expressed its strong support for efforts being made to address the causes of the prevailing security threats in Nigeria, including socio-economic, governance and security issues. They agreed on the paramount importance of adhering to the tenets of rule of law in the fight against terrorism.
The two sides share common concern about Maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea and welcome the setting up of a Gulf of Guinea Commission and the ECOWAS draft Integrated Maritime Security Strategy.
EU Assistance on MDGs
The parties reaffirmed their commitment to the implementation of the MDGs. They shared the view that enhanced efforts were needed in the northern part of Nigeria and more particularly, the North East of Nigeria in order to upscale the implementation of the goals. They also underscored the impact of the recent convergence of global crises, including environmental, food, energy, financial and economic crisis, on the capacity to attain the MDGs. Nigeria and the EU team further expressed concerns about the challenges ahead of Nigeria in achieving its objectives in the field of education.
The Parties also used the occasion to reaffirm their readiness to advance cooperation in border management, especially on the current security challenges in the Sahel region. They welcomed, in this regard, the Working Arrangement between Nigeria and FRONTEX, the EU’s border security agency, on integrated border management.
In this connection, Nigeria stressed the need to facilitate legal mobility between Nigeria and Europe. The Parties welcomed their ongoing cooperation to maximize the development impact of migration, and mobility, to organize and facilitate legal migration, and to prevent and reduce irregular migration and trafficking in persons.
Regarding remittances, the Parties agreed to promote cheaper, more transparent, competitive and reliable transfers to Nigeria. They also agreed to promote the engagement of the Diaspora in the development of Africa, through the Diaspora Outreach Initiative.
Similarly, both the EU and Nigeria agreed to ensure that the justice sector functions in an independent and effective manner, with the purpose of consolidating the rule of law and good governance.
GLOBAL Finance and Economic Crisis
After a close reflection Nigeria and the EU acknowledged the importance of concerted and coordinated actions, to effectively combat the lingering global financial and economic crisis. They therefore called for a unified front to address the form and consequences of the crisis, while calling for more support for the G20, as the premier forum for international economic cooperation.