From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The European Union (EU), has pledged to continue to pursue with increased vigour, its bilateral engagement and friendship with Nigeria.
This, the EU said, was with a view to delivering better and more results in the partnership between the EU and Nigeria.
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Head of the EU Delegation to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Ambassador Samuela Isopi, made the pledge while briefing journalists in Abuja ahead of the Europe Day 2022 on May 9.
Isopi said the EU and Nigeria’s recent launch of a Joint Ministerial Roadmap and of a seven year Multiannual Indicative Programme for Nigeria aimed to consolidate extant gains of the partnership, while underlining the EU’s commitment to long-term support aligned with its shared priorities, values and interests with Nigeria.
According to Isopi, the Multiannual Indicative Programme for Nigeria 2021-2027 targets projects that reinforce EU’s bilateral cooperation with Nigeria in three focal areas of Green and Digital Economy; Governance, Peace and Migration; and Human Development.
The EU, she added, is working with its member states, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and other EU Development Finance Institutions in the implementation of the agreed priorities as Team Europe.
Isopi further said the EU remained Nigeria’s biggest trading partner, first investor, top donor of humanitarian and development aid, and the biggest diplomatic network.
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“The volume of EU-Nigeria trade stood at €28.7bn in 2021 – 25.8 percent increase over that of 2020. The EU’s imports from Nigeria stood at €17.5bn, while its exports were valued at €11.2bn, with the trade balance at €6.4bn in favour of Nigeria.
“The EU is Nigeria’s most important trading partner accounting for 20.9 percent of Nigeria’s trade with the world. EU is the first export destination for Nigeria, accounting for 25.4 percent of its exports. EU is second in Nigeria’s imports from the world accounting for 16.1 percent of its total imports,” Isopi said in a statement issued in Abuja.
Isopi recalled the outstanding accomplishments recorded in recent times as the EU and Nigeria ramped up collaborations to address issues of common concerns, leveraging of their strong partnership of equals.
“The EU has been providing the lead in efforts to promote peace and security, democratic governance and rule of law, human rights and freedoms, prosperity and decent living at home and around the world. In the face of global challenges like pandemics, security, finding green and digital solutions, climate change and migration, the EU has already proven to be more effective while working with its networks of partnerships across the world.
“Together with its Member States, the EU is the biggest donor of COVID-19 vaccines to Nigeria, and has so far gifted it with 20 million doses, representing 61 percent of all donated vaccines received by Nigeria through the COVAX facility,” the EU said.