Seychelles: 9th European Union Political Dialogue
The 9th Political Dialogue was co-chaired by Seychelles’ Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Mr Sylvestre Radegonde, and EU Ambassador, Mr Vincent Degert. Both expressed satisfaction for the achievements of the strategic partnership and agreed to enhance cooperation in the areas of maritime security, sustainable blue economy, trade, investment as well as environment and climate change. Reaffirming their strong attachment to multilateralism, the UN Charter and the universality of human rights, they also shared views on the consequences of the Covid pandemic and the Russian war against Ukraine. They concluded on the importance of a stronger cooperation to address the global crises and their ongoing consequences notably on poverty, food security and energy with a view to reinforce the resilience of our economies and societies.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Mr Sylvestre Radegonde, said:
“Our engagement, covering a wide range of political, environmental and socioeconomic issues, allows for an extensive dialogue reaffirming our mutual interests and values. It promotes sustainable development and climate action, encourages development cooperation and strengthens strategic partnerships in key priority sectors.
Our vulnerabilities have been further heightened by recent global events – a two-year pandemic, global inflation in food and energy prices, supply chain disruptions, and international and regional conflicts. As such, we will continue to passionately advocate for a Multidimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI), but we also call on your support to leverage your influence in securing a universal adoption of the MVI.
Avec le soutien de nos partenaires, nous pouvons créer un environnement propice aux commerce et aux investissements; éliminer les barrières empêchant la pleine participation des femmes dans tous les secteurs économiques; et promouvoir une marque seychelloise de renommée mondiale en soutenant le développement des industries des PME.
Notre vision des Seychelles est celle d’un petit Etat insulaire dynamique, vibrant et pleines d'opportunités infinies. Des Seychelles innovantes mais vierges avec une base économique diversifiée et une forte résilience face aux chocs externes et au changement climatique.”
The Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Seychelles, H.E. Mr Vincent Degert said:
– “The multiple challenges we are facing underline with strength that humanity is at risk and that we need more than ever a stronger multilateralism to reinforce cooperation in building and increasing our resilience to be able to tackle for current and future crises to come. It is in this challenging and difficult context that we can all the more fully appreciate the value of the EU-Seychelles partnership. We share the same commitment to multilateralism. We can also rely on a solid anchor: a strong attachment to universal fundamental values like democracy, rule of law, freedom and human dignity. The EU-Seychelles partnership is clearly a strategic one. It has grown over the years and allows us to pursue a broad and fruitful cooperation in many key areas of common interest like peace and security; sustainable economic growth; health and resilience; climate change and governance and human rights.”
Recalling the positive outcome of the last Political Dialogue in October 2021, Seychelles and the European Union (EU) had an open and fruitful exchange of views on subjects of mutual interest that are high on their agendas. They agreed to work towards strong and converging positions in multilateral fora with regard to global crisis and the management of global commons.
The Parties reaffirmed their support to the UN Resolutions on the aggression against Ukraine and on its Humanitarian consequences of adopted on 2nd and 24th of March 2022 and called for a return to peace and safety for civilians. They discussed the consequences of the war on global food security and energy prices and agreed to explore how they can work together to boost Seychelles’ food sovereignty as well as renewable energy and energy efficiency. The EU commended the consistent vote of Seychelles at the United Nations in favour of the full application of Universal Charter and its core principles, calling for an end to the repeated violations against international and humanitarian laws. Referring to several conflicts in Africa, they agreed to continue working together at pan African and regional level to promote peace and security.
Reiterating the importance of safe seas and freedom of navigation for trade and the economy overall, they acknowledged their fruitful cooperation in the fight against piracy and underlined the pivotal role of the Regional Centre for Operational Coordination hosted by Seychelles within the Regional Maritime Surveillance Mechanism. Additionally, they underscored the importance of the EUNAVFOR Operation Atalanta’s latest extension of scope of operations to include other maritime threats, such as drugs and arms smuggling, and IUU fishing in their recognition of the EU’s prominent role in contributing to maritime security in the region. They emphasized the importance of regional ownership, and welcomed the ongoing discussions that will result in a deterrent effect on illicit maritime crimes. They also committed to continuing the work to finalise an agreement to strengthen their cooperation.
Referring to new threats to the functioning of democratic society such as cybersecurity and disinformation, in the context of growing use of social platforms, they agreed to explore ways to work together in these areas for a safer internet and the protection of personal data.
Recalling their joint commitment to the Paris Agreement of 2015 and taking account of the latest International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report highlighting the ‘consequences of inaction’, Seychelles and the EU underlined the importance of the Paris Agreement full implementation. Seychelles called upon the leadership of the EU to urge other high-emitting countries to respect global commitments on climate action, including the implementation of the Paris Agreement and capping average global temperatures at 1.5 degrees Celsius. The EU confirmed its willingness to lead by example by committing to climate neutrality by 2050 with the EU Green Deal and its commitment to support partner countries in implementing their Nationally Determined Contribution, in particular Small Island Developing States like Seychelles. In this context, the EU commended Seychelles on its role as the Chair of the African Island States Climate Change Commission (AISCCC). The Parties agreed to endeavour to create strong alliances in international fora, notably at the UN Climate Change Conference, COP27, in November in Egypt, and in the upcoming UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) in Canada in December.
They also exchanged views on the governance and human rights situation in Seychelles and reaffirmed their strong attachment to democratic values and respect for human rights. Recalling that Seychelles is considered a model in Africa in terms of stability, democratic governance and political transition, the EU reaffirmed its readiness to continue to support Seychelles in reinforcing the capacity of its administration as well as in the fight against corruption. This is an area where Seychelles has made significant progress as demonstrated by the improved ranking in the MoIbrahim Index. The Parties also highlighted that the finalisation of the updated Gender GAP Analysis and Gender Country Profile will be instrumental to promote gender equality and fight against gender-based violence.
The Parties discussed about the multiple risks to the global economic outlook. Seychelles apprised the EU of the national efforts to create a sustainable, inclusive, digitalised and diversified economy and called for greater support in the areas of science, technology and innovation. The EU commended Seychelles for achieving a strong fiscal performance and for addressing macroeconomic imbalances in a challenging context. All along, the EU has remained a key business partner for Seychelles – the most important export market, the first provider of tourists and a reliable source of foreign investments. The EU reiterated its support to Seychelles economic diversification and attracting investment in the framework of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). The Parties took note of the state of play of the ongoing negotiations for deepening the EPA aimed at moving beyond trade in goods towards a more comprehensive agreement to boost bilateral trade and investment flows.
With regard to their strategic partnership in the area of fisheries, they agreed to continue joining forces to prevent, deter and eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. They recalled the benefits of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement in promoting artisanal fisheries and supporting sustainable fisheries management. The EU underlined the importance of the Seychelles-EU partnership in advocating strongly for sustainable fisheries within the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission’s (IOTC). Seychelles encouraged the EU to solidify alliances with the Indian Ocean and Eastern Africa coastal states with the aim of identifying a common position on matters concerning the IOTC. The Parties took note of the positive outcome of the BlueInvest-Africa initiative organised under the high-patronage of the President of the Republic of Seychelles and advocated for a follow up to this event as a key platform for fostering the EU-Africa cooperation and promoting a sustainable blue economy in Africa.
The EU congratulated Seychelles for being removed from the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes. The EU further encouraged Seychelles to continue its efforts to align with international best practices in the anti-money laundering and to make best use of its technical assistance. The EU thereby confirmed its readiness to continue to work with Seychelles in these areas that are the subject of increased attention at the international level. Seychelles welcomed and thanked the EU for technical assistance received in tackling anti-money laundering and addressing strategic deficiencies in national legislations, but aligned itself with the OACPS in decrying the practice of unilateral publications of blacklists, which it considers to go against the spirit of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement and tarnishes the reputation and image of developing countries.
As the coronavirus pandemic is still ongoing, both parties recognised the importance of building resilience to any future pandemic and maintaining cooperation. They acknowledged the Team Europe support had contributed to enhance the epidemiological surveillance within the region. The EU congratulated Seychelles on its management of the sanitary crisis and on achieving mutual recognition of Digital COVID Certificate, a key step for facilitating travel between Seychelles and the EU. The EU called for Seychelles’ support with regard to the proposal for a pandemic treaty to enable the international community to cooperate more efficiently and better respond in the event of another pandemic.
With regard to the European Union-African Union Joint Vision for 2030, they discussed the future of their partnership in the context of the post-Cotonou Agreement. They confirmed their determination to implement the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals as the reference for a safer, cleaner, fairer and more prosperous future. They also discussed about the EU Global Gateway, a significant investment package for a strong, inclusive, green and digital recovery and transformation.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Mr Sylvestre Radegonde, led the Seychelles delegation comprising of Mr Naadir Hassan, Minister of Finance, Trade and National Planning, Ms Devika Vidot, Minister for Investment, Industry and Entrepreneurship Development, Mr Flavien Joubert, Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Climate Change, Mrs Marie-Celine Zialor, Minister for Sports, Youth and Family Affairs, Mr Errol Fonseka, Minister for Internal Affairs and representatives from the Ministry of Fisheries and Blue Economy, Office of the Attorney General, the Anti-Corruption Commission, the Human Rights Commission, the Seychelles Ports Authority and the Seychelles Maritime Security Authority.
The EU Ambassador, Mr Vincent Degert led the EU Delegation. He was accompanied by ambassadors and representatives from 9 Member States, namely: Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Cyprus, Netherlands, Romania, Finland and Sweden. A delegation of the EU Naval Force – Somalia Operation ATALANTA also participated in the Political Dialogue.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Tourism – Foreign Affairs Department, Republic of Seychelles.