The Government of Liberia and the European Union has held their Seventh EU-Liberia Political Dialogue aimed at strengthening the existing bilateral ties and cooperation between the two parties.
According to a Foreign Ministry release, the Seventh EU-Liberia Political Dialogue which took place on Monday, May 6th was convened in the C. Cecil Dennis’ Auditorium at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Members of the Liberian Government’s delegation at the forum were Finance and Development Planning Samuel Tweah; Labor Minister Moses Y. Kollie; Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection Ms. Williametta Piso Saydee-Tarr as well as Hon. Wesley Momo Johnson of the Governance Commission and a host of other officials of the Liberian Government.
There were also representatives from the Justice Ministry and the National investment commission at the deliberation.
Members of the European Union delegation included the following: the Ambassador of the Republic of France, H. E. Terrence Wills; the Ambassador of the United Kingdom, H.E. Mr. David Belgrove; The Charge d’Affairtre of the Federal Republic of Germany, M r. Guenter Plambeck and the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium, Hugues Chantry among other EU Diplomats in Liberia.
Liberia’s Foreign Minister, Gbehzohngar Milton Findley, led the Liberian Government delegation at the dialogue, while the EU Ambassador accredited to Liberia, Her Excellency Hélène Cavé headed the European Union Delegation at the one day event.
The Seventh Political Dialogue was co-chaired by Minister Findley and EU Ambassador to Liberia, Ms. Helene Cave.
At the Dialogue, the two sides discussed critical economic, political and social issues including “Creating the Conditions for Broad-Based Economic Growth and Job Creation – measures aimed at fostering an enabling business investment environment; Private Sector Development; Good Governance; Accountability and Transparency.
Other issues deliberated at the just ended Dialogue were the Post-Cotonou Negotiation and the Schengen Visas issues among others. The two parties also highlighted the state of the Liberian Economy and the country 2019/20 National Budget
Speaking at the dialogue, Foreign Minister Findley extolled the European Union and its member states for the many bilateral assistance it has rendered and continues to provide the Government and people of Liberia.
Minister Findley told the meeting that Liberia will continue its bilateral engagements with the EU member countries aimed at promoting the country’s ‘Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development.
Making closing remarks, Minister Findley added “Let me first of all thank you Madam Ambassador and members of the EU delegation; I would also like to thank all Ministers and heads of Government entities here present from the Liberian side.
Today, once again Madam Ambassador we have been able to sit openly and to discuss those issues that are affecting our bilateral relationship and to some extent our multilateral relationship with the European Union;
The Dean of the Cabinet expressed delight over the progress the two sides made together at the dialogue.
He indicated that since last July, both the EU and GOL have had open and frank discussions on the EU-Liberia relations stressing “we will continue to work together to improve the living condition of the Liberian people”.
The Minister who co-chaired the dialogue revealed that President George Manneh Weah cannot over emphasize his concerns about the EU-Liberia relationship and has expressed his desire to continue to engage with the Union to solve the differences with the European Union.
“We will continue to liaise with you as partners to help improve the living condition of the Liberian people,” he added.
For her part, the Head of EU Delegation expressed delight over the engagement and stated that “we have addressed critical issues of concern including political, social and economic and human rights.
The purpose is to make progress together on a platforms where questions and answers are raised from both sides and exchanges are made; we are building the country together, she said.
Ambassador Hélène Cavé then commended the Liberian Government for systematically addressing the EU concerns. She expressed hope that the next dialogue would take place at a reasonable time frame with the view to take note of development taking place in the course of six months in Liberia, adding “our assistance are linked to this”.
During the opening deliberation, the Government of Liberia briefed the EU delegation on state of the economy, the country’s national budget as well as the Liberian business climate. The GOL also highlighted some of the challenges the country is faced with and efforts the Weah-led administration is making in addressing some of the problems.
The European Union, for its part, underlined the importance of creating friendly business environment to enable investors come to Liberia and appreciated receiving an update from the Government on the efforts being made thus far.
The Liberian Government also informed the meeting about the condition of people in pre-trial detention in Liberia and the challenges faced by the Liberian government in dealing with the situation.
On this note, the European Union committed to continue its support for Government’s efforts to address these challenges.
The Government of Liberia also set out a number of ongoing initiatives designed to simplify and clarify business regulations geared towards creating a convenient business environment for investors. The European Union welcomed these efforts and hoped that it would lead to greater predictability for businesses.
The Government of Liberia then briefed the EU on the economic and budgetary situations, expressing its gratitude for the European Union’s continued budgetary support. The Government explained that the 2019/20 budget is expected to see a return to economic growth after three years of recession.
Both parties commented on the benefits of a regular exchange of views and expressed their confidence that the next administration would find the annual dialogue equally important.
The parties reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthening their relationship and expressed the desire that the next EU-Liberia Political Dialogue would take place in accordance with the normal schedule.-Press release