The European Union has offered to collaborate with the ECOWAS Commission to address the multiple challenges in West Africa and advance peace and security and economic integration agenda of the sub-region, insisting that democratic, peaceful, strong and prosperous Nigeria is in the interest of Europe and the world.
Speaking at the celebration of the European Day in Abuja, the EU Ambassador to Nigeria and West Africa, Samuela Isopi said: “As neighbours, building on the success of the recent EU-ECOWAS High-Level Dialogue, hosted in Brussels in February this year, we will continue to work together to address the multiple challenges of the region and advance ECOWAS peace and security and economic integration agenda.
Isopi while admitting that European Union is far from being perfect, insisted that “It is still work in progress. In the best sense of the term. The European journey has never been easy and it will never be. We will continue to have supporters and detractors, inside and outside the Union. But still, the European Union remains the most successful peace and prosperity project of modern history and the best and most transformative political, geopolitical, economic, social and cultural construct ever designed and concretely realized.”
She said: “Today it is also the day, for us Europeans, to celebrate our Ukrainian friends who are defending their freedom and these same values with their own lives. (I would like to acknowledge the presence here tonight of the Ambassador-designate of Ukraine, Ambassador Ivan Kholostenko. You are most welcome)
“To mark this year’s celebrations, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, travelled to Kiev today, to commemorate Europe Day with President Zelensky and with the brave Ukrainian People.”
Isopi noted that: “Europe Day is also a key moment in the year to celebrate our partnership with Nigeria and with ECOWAS.”
She said: “As neighbours and global leaders, the European Union and Nigeria are natural partners. We both believe and strongly support multilateralism and rules-based order; we are both enriched by “unity in diversity” and bound by shared values and by a common imperative interest to work even more closely together, in the region, in Africa and on the global scene.
@From the fight against violent extremism and insecurity in the North-East of the country, in West Africa and in the Gulf of Guinea, areas where the EU is present through a multi-dimensional engagement; to further boosting our trade, investment, digital and energy cooperation; from supporting the continuous deepening of Nigeria’s growing democracy; to the development of a comprehensive migration and mobility partnership; from addressing climate change to crisis and disaster management and humanitarian assistance, the European Union and its Member States look forward to working with the new Nigerian Administration, under the leadership of President-elect, His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on building a win-win partnership to the benefit of the peoples of Nigeria and Europe.
“A democratic, peaceful, strong and prosperous Nigeria is in the interest of Europe and the world.”
Isopi said the EU is already Nigeria’s biggest trading partner accounting for more than 20% of Nigerian trade with the world and a significant trade balance in favour of Nigeria.
She added that the European Union is also Nigeria’s first partner in foreign direct investments, noting that: “With an estimated FDI stock of over 30 billion euros, EU companies contribute to the economic diversification and growth, to job creation and wealth generation. We are keen to do more together!”
Meanwhile, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama said Nigerian government appreciates the role of EU in Nigeria, stating the region has played prominent roles in the life of the country.
The Minister thanked envoys from EU for their support during his eight years in the saddle at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
He admitted that EU is the largest partner to Nigeria and that the country would continue to cherish the relationship and even continue to improve on it.