Vice-President Schinas was welcomed at the airport by the Minister of Defence, Honourable Sering Modou Njie. On the next day, accompanied by Ambassador Corrado Pampaloni, he met with His Excellency the Vice-President Muhammed B.S. Jallow, the Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs Mamadou Tangara. He also spoke with the Hon. Minister of Interior Seyaka Sonko and the Hon. Minister of Justice Dawda A. Jallow. Vice-President Schinas also held a briefing with the European Member States representatives in The Gambia, i.e. Germany, France and Spain, as well as Italy.
The Vice-President had the opportunity to visit a number of projects reflecting the broad spectrum of the cooperation between the EU and The Gambia, the Common Operational Partnership against the smuggling of migrants and trafficking in human beings, implemented in cooperation with the Spanish National Police and the German Federal Police, and the Fandema project in Tanji which provides training for women on solar installation, basic wiring, ITC, welding and painting, waste management solar solutions.
Vice President Schinas noted that The Gambia is a beacon of stability and democracy in the region. It’s a successful model of cooperation, that can serve as an example for neighbouring countries. The Gambia shares human rights and democratic values with the EU and both are often aligned in the multilateral fora like the United Nations. For these reasons, the EU is one of the main partners of The Gambia, having mobilised half a billion euros in bilateral cooperation since 2017, and both partners are committed in upholding this fruitful partnership that encompasses a wide range of sectors from job creation, infrastructure, democratic governance to climate change adaption.
On migration and mobility, Vice President Schinas acknowledged and commended the active efforts undertaken by The Gambia in managing migration challenges including fighting smuggling of migrants. As a sign of these positive developments, the European Commission has proposed to the Council to lift a first set of visa measures under article 25a of the EU Visa Code, by reducing the applied visa fee from €120 to €80. Both partners agreed to carry on the cooperation and the EU promised more support to assist the country in better assisting returning citizens in their reintegration into the Gambian society, as well as to boost economic development and provide more opportunities for the youth.