BANJUL, 17th January 2023: The Government of the Republic of The Gambia and the European Union (EU) held a high-level political dialogue under ex-article 8 of the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) – EU Partnership (Cotonou) Agreement in Banjul, The Gambia, on 10th January 2023.
This was the first time a Political Dialogue was held after the democratic elections of 2016 that marked the transition from an authoritarian regime to democracy, led by the new President Adama Barrow.
The Dialogue provided an opportunity to review recent developments in the EU and The Gambia, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on public health and the support provided by the EU response amounting to more than €35 Million for the country. The EU and The Gambia discussed developments in the area of Transition to a full democratic country, supported by the three key reforms envisaged: Constitutional, Transitional Justice / Rule of Law and Security Sector. They also discussed Human Rights and the policies related to addressing gender equality and gender-based violence, as well as The Gambia’s priorities as member of the UN Human Rights Council.
The EU and The Gambia highlighted their commitment to further strengthen their political partnership and continue joint efforts towards the full implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and promotion of the rules based international order and effective multilateralism with the UN at its core. The Gambia and the EU agreed on the need to improve how progress is tracked on the implementation of joint projects in the interest of building and maintaining trust amongst the Parties.
The Gambia Government conveyed the message that a little more time is needed to ensure proper consultations with the relevant stakeholders with regard to the implementation of the White Paper within the course of 2023.
The Parties acknowledge the efforts being made by the Government in implementing the Security Sector Reform, but also expressed desire for the process to be finalised transparently on a faster tempo with given timelines. The parties also exchanged on the recent coup plot.
They also expressed satisfaction in the Human Rights Situation in the country, which has placed The Gambia in a respectable position of the human rights pedestal. They also agreed that globally the Human Rights situation has deteriorated and that common actions to fight against this trend should be continued at multilateral level.
The Parties look forward to a fair and peaceful Local Government Elections in 2023 that will close the second election cycle under the new democratic tenure.
They confirmed a cordial relationship between The Gambia and the European Union based on mutual trust, respect and frequent consultations. Nonetheless, The Gambian side supports a more direct channel in terms of funds accessibility. The EU confirmed that, if conditions allow, budget support will remain an important modality of the partnership. In this respect, the EU stressed the importance of jointly and closely monitoring the satisfaction of commonly agreed performance indicators.
The Parties acknowledged and appreciated the efforts of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs for initiating and recently validating the Green Recovery National Development Plan (2023-2027) as a continuation of the 2017-2022 National Development Plan. The EU observes that the priorities of this new NDP match with those agreed in the EU-Gambia Multiannual Indicative Programme 2021-2027. At regional level, the EU underlines that the Global Gateway will provide the necessary game-changer for an overall infrastructure upgrade along the Praia-Dakar-Abidjan corridor. In The Gambia, this materializes with the completion of the rehabilitation of the connecting roads to the Senegambia Bridge and the forthcoming expansion of the Port of Banjul.
In ensuring a comprehensive partnership on migration, The Gambia shall cooperate on the acceptance, readmission and reintegration of its citizens and will at the same time ascertain that the rights and dignity of her citizens are fully protected and respected. The Gambia, as a development partner, would continue to appeal to the EU to increase its assistance packages to enable the Gambia better equip its law enforcement agencies with the requisite capacities and logistics to adequately and effectively handle the monthly flow of returnees. In the same vein, financial packages should be tailored in such a way that beneficiaries have direct access.
The parties concurred to continue to work closely together for improving the readmission cooperation in the perspectives of a re-assessment of measures taken in application of Article 25a of the EU Visa Code towards The Gambia.
The parties discussed their relationship in the field of fisheries and recognised its importance, namely due to the existing SPA and the level of export to the EU. They also agreed upon to tackle together and swiftly the issues related to IUU activities.
The meeting was attended by;
His Excellency Dr. Mamadou Tangara – Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of The Gambia, His Excellency Mr. Corrado Pampaloni – Ambassador of The EU Delegation to The Gambia.