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Friday, 23 July 2010

EU Development Commissioner meets Secretary-General

Andris Piebalgs endorses Kamalesh Sharma’s call for a deepening of the relationship between the Secretariat and the European Commission Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma welcomed European Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, to the Commonwealth Secretariat on an historic occasion. This was the first visit by a Development Commissioner to Marlborough House, the Secretariat’s headquarters, though European Commission President José Manuel Barroso has met the Secretary-General both in London and in Brussels over the last few years.
The Commissioner endorsed the Secretary-General’s call for a deepening of the relationship between the two institutions. On a number of important policy areas there is common interest and both the European Union (EU) and the Commonwealth share the basic values of freedom and democracy.  The Commissioner expressed satisfaction at the role of the Secretariat in delivering trade related capacity-building in conjunction with the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, to all member states of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) grouping. He believes that a Phase II of this programme was within reach and that the two sides should meet again in September in Brussels to resolve outstanding issues. On the Pacific, following the Secretary-General’s discussions at the Forum Heads of Government Meeting last year in Cairns, with former Development Director-General Stefano Manservisi, the Commissioner expressed the opinion that the EU and the Commonwealth could do more together to assist the island governments in the Pacific region. He looks forward to receiving proposals on this from the Secretariat. On the joint EU/African Union (AU) Strategy for Africa, where the Secretariat is accepted at the political levels as an important contributor to the governance aspects, the Commissioner envisaged further discussion about deepening the relationship, both with the AU Commission in Addis Ababa and in individual Commonwealth African countries. It is anticipated that the discussions will move further forward as both the Commissioner and the Secretary-General will attend the forthcoming AU Summit in Kampala. It was agreed that a regular meeting between the Commissioner and the Secretary-General would be a new feature of the relationship between the two organisations.

Source: Commonwealth