The 10th Seychelles-EU Political Dialogue takes place in Victoria
The European Union and the Republic of Seychelles held their 10th Political Dialogue in Victoria. The Political Dialogue was co-chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Mr. Sylvestre Radegonde and the newly accredited Ambassador of the European Union, H.E. Mr Oskar Benedikt. The Dialogue gathered seven Ministers as well as ambassadors and representatives from ten EU Member States. The Parties exchanged views on a broad range of issues of mutual interest and agreed to enhance their cooperation in the areas of maritime security, sustainable ocean management and fisheries, trade and investment as well as climate change and environmental protection.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Mr. Sylvestre Radegonde, stated:
– “The dialogue itself has served as a platform for open and constructive exchanges on a wide range of issues, from political cooperation and economic development to environmental sustainability and social progress. It has allowed us to strengthen our ties, deepen our understanding, and find common ground on matters of regional and global importance.
As a result, Seychelles and the European Union have forged a remarkable alliance, bound by a commitment to democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. Our partnership has yielded fruitful results in various areas, such as trade and investments, security cooperation, capacity building, sustainable development etc. Together, we have worked to promote peace, stability, and prosperity in our region and beyond.
Le 10ème dialogue politique Seychelles-Union Européenne n’est pas seulement une étape importante ; c’est un témoignage de l’amitié durable et des aspirations partagées entre nous. Profitons de cette occasion pour réaffirmer notre attachement aux valeurs qui nous lient, pour renouveler notre détermination à relever les défis pressants de notre époque et pour tracer la voie d’une prospérité partagée et d’un développement durable.”
The Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Seychelles, H.E. Mr. Oskar Benedikt said:
– “The EU and Seychelles have been close partners over many years, supporting each other. I am grateful we once again had a fruitful and honest exchange. The EU and its Member States remain key partners for Seychelles, in terms of tourism, investments and trade, fisheries, maritime security and the protection of the ocean and its resources. We have taken stock of progress of our cooperation in these areas, based on our joint agreements and our shared values of rule of law and democracy, multilateralism, and human rights.”
Recalling the positive outcome of the last Political Dialogue held in October 2022, Seychelles and the European Union (EU) had an open and fruitful exchange of views on several subjects of mutual interest. They reaffirmed their strong attachment to multilateralism, the UN Charter and the universality of human rights and shared views on the consequences of the Russian conflict against Ukraine and ongoing conflicts in the SADC region. They agreed to work towards strong and converging positions in multilateral fora with regard to global crisis and challenges. They welcomed the decision to make the African Union a permanent member of the G20.
Seychelles and the EU confirmed their commitment to the full implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The EU thanked Seychelles for joining the Global Methane pledge, a joint EU-US initiative aimed at reducing the emissions of this greenhouse gas (GHG). Reaffirming its support to partner countries, in particular Small Island Developing States, in implementing their Nationally Determined Contribution, the EU highlighted that it has maintained a €2 million bilateral cooperation programme for the period 2021-2027 for tackling climate change notably. In addition, the EU also stated that Seychelles benefits from various regional programmes in the areas of climate change and disaster risk management and commended the active role of Seychelles in promoting international cooperation and innovation to address climate and environmental challenges.
The Parties agreed to endeavour to create strong alliances in international fora, notably at the UN Climate Change Conference, COP28, in November in Dubai. They also reflected on how they could work together in promoting a circular economy – a priority for Seychelles – as part of their ongoing bilateral cooperation programme.
They acknowledged the positive impact of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement (SFPA) on Seychelles’ fisheries industry, the development of aquaculture, and the artisanal fisheries infrastructure development in support of the needs of the fisheries communities and well-being of fishers towards improving their quality of life. The EU is a main market for Seychelles’ fish exports. The parties reiterated their strong commitment to continue to prevent, deter and eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing and welcome inspectors from EU countries in inspections done at sea and at the port. They agreed to continue to enhance their cooperation in the framework of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission in favour of sustainable fisheries. The EU also welcomed Seychelles’ acceptance of the WTO agreement on disciplining harmful fisheries subsidies worldwide as a key initiative to promote sustainability of ocean resources at a global level.
The EU commended Seychelles for adopting bold objectives in favour of healthier oceans in particular its commitment to protect 50% of its seagrass by 2025 and 100% by 2030, after having already one of the largest marine protected areas in the world. The EU welcomed the creation of the Maritime Environment Fund under the SFPA, which will be financed by the EU and contribute to cleaner Seychelles’ waters.
The Parties acknowledged that the EU remains a key economic partner for Seychelles – the most important export market, the first provider of tourists and a reliable source of foreign direct investments. The Parties took note of the actions implemented as part of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) support programme in favour of economic diversification, support to small and medium enterprises and customs’ operations’ facilitation. The Parties took note of the state of play of the ongoing negotiations for deepening the EPA and the continued support provided by the EU to facilitate Seychelles’ full participation in the negotiations. They also welcomed the modernisation of Port Victoria’s operations with the introduction of a comprehensive management information system supported by the EU.
They acknowledged their fruitful cooperation in the fight against piracy and underlined the pivotal role of the Regional Centre for Operational Coordination (RCOC) hosted by Seychelles within the Regional Maritime Surveillance Mechanism. They acknowledged the major role of the EU as a maritime security provider in the region with the deployment of EUNAVFOR Operation Atalanta and the successful operations at sea it has carried out against drug trafficking as part of its broadened mandate. They also took note of the ongoing regional cooperation for enhancing port security and building national capacities in addressing illicit trade, smuggling of weapons and drug trafficking. Highlighting the importance of regional ownership, they welcomed the signature of a legal finish agreement with its deterrent effect on trafficking and looked forward to its adoption by the National Assembly.
Taking into consideration Seychelles’ concerns over the consequences of its overall rating as ‘Partially Compliant’ by the Global Forum of Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes and the efforts made reforming its legislative frameworks and administrative capacities for monitoring, the EU reaffirmed its commitment to continue to work with Seychelles and its readiness to provide technical assistance in tax governance. The EU congratulated Seychelles on the improvements in six out of Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group’s series of 40 recommendations and confirmed its readiness to continue to work with Seychelles in the area of anti-money laundering.
The Parties also exchanged views on the governance and human rights situation in Seychelles and reaffirmed their strong attachment to democratic values and respect for human rights. Recalling that Seychelles is considered a model in Africa in terms of stability, democratic governance and political transition, the EU reaffirmed its readiness to continue to work with Seychelles in promoting good governance as part of its ongoing bilateral cooperation programme. The EU encouraged Seychelles to use the updated Gender GAP Analysis and the Gender Country Profile that were finalised in 2022 to promote gender equality and fight against gender-based violence.
Health resilience and food security were also addressed as key issues for the welfare of their respective citizens. Successful regional cooperation is ongoing on enhancing epidemiological surveillance and promoting a One Health approach as well as on supporting national food sovereignty.
The parties confirmed their determination to continue to work together for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals as the reference for a safer, cleaner, fairer and more prosperous future. They also discussed the EU Global Gateway, a significant investment package for a strong, inclusive, green and digital recovery and transformation.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Mr Sylvestre Radegonde, led the Seychelles delegation comprising of Mr. Jean-Francois Ferrari, Designated Minister and Minister for Fisheries and the Blue Economy, Mr. Naadir Hassan, Minster for Finance, National Planning and Trade, Mr. Anthony Derjacques, Minister for Transport, Mrs. Marie Celine Zialor Minister for Youth, Sports and Family, Mrs. Devika Vidot, Minister for Investment, Entrepreneurship and Industry, Mr. Flavien Joubert, Minister for Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment, Ms. May De Silva, Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission, Mr. Elvis Julie, Chief Executive Officer of the Huma Rights Commission, Mr. George Thachett, Principal State Counsel in the Attorney General’s Office and Mr. Raymond St. Ange, Commissioner of Prisons of the Seychelles Prison Service.
The EU Ambassador, H.E. Mr. Oskar Benedikt led the EU Delegation. He was accompanied by Ambassadors and representatives from 10 Member States, namely: Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, Spain, France, Netherlands, Austria, Finland and Sweden. Representatives from EUNAVFOR Operation Atalanta were also part of the EU Delegation.