Th the European Union and the Government of The Gambia held the 12th consultative meeting under Article 8 of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement at the Kairaba Beach Hotel on December 12.
Article 8 of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement outlines the specific modalities for a regular, comprehensive, balanced and deep political dialogue between the EU and the third country, in this case The Gambia. This covers a broad range of topics, most notably the respect for human rights, democratic principles, the rule of law and good governance.
The meeting was co-chaired by the European Union, represented by the EU Ambassador,
Attila Lajos, and the Government of The Gambia,represented by the Minister of Justice,
Abubacarr Marie Tambadou, who deputized for the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad, Hon. Ousainou Darboe. The EU was further represented by the Ambassadors to The Gambia from the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, and Austria, as well as by the Head of Mission from France. The meeting was graced by the the following Ministers and Permanent Secretaries of the Government of The Gambia:
Foreign Affairs, Finance and Economic Affairs, Interior, Energy and Petroleum, Higher Education, Environment, and, Fisheries. This meeting marks the first political dialogue between the European Union and the The Gambia under the new Government of President Adama Barrow. Both sides have enjoyed a continuous and productive dialogue from the beginning of the tenure of the new Government in January 2017 and are committed to continue engaging on a wide range of topics.
During the meeting, the European Union reaffirmed its support to the democratic transition and reforms as well as to sustainable and inclusive development in The Gambia. The agenda items that were discussed included good governance, human rights, the rule of law, security, migration, the economic situation, national development and development cooperation, as well as bilateral agreements.
Recognising the workload and the challenges that the Government of The Gambia is facing, the European Union congratulated the Government on progress achieved on important files such as, amongst others, the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission; the assessment of the Security Sector as a basis for the Security Sector Reform and the development of a National Security Policy; the validation of a National Migration Policy;
the reform of the media laws and the drafting of a new Information Bill; the transparent work of the Commission of Inquiry; and the finalisation of the National Development Plan,which will guide the country’s development from 2018-2021.
The European Union and the Government of The Gambia will continue working collaboratively together and they foresee the next meeting under Article 8 between the European Union and The Gambia in the first half of 2018.