The Seventh EU-Liberia Political Dialogue convened in Monrovia on Monday to help strengthen the existing bilateral ties and cooperation between the two parties.
According to a Foreign Ministry release, the Liberian delegation at the forum included Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel Tweah; Labor Minister Moses Y. Kollie; Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ms. Williametta Piso Saydee-Tarr as well as Mr. Wesley Momo Johnson of the Governance Commission and a host of other officials.
There were also representatives from the Justice Ministry and the National Investment Commission at the deliberation.
Members of the European Union delegation included the Ambassador of France, Terrence Wills; Ambassador of the United Kingdom, Mr. David Belgrove; Charge d’Affaires of Germany, Mr. Guenter Plambeck and the Ambassador of Belgium, Hugues Chantry, among other EU diplomats in Liberia.
Liberia’s Foreign Minister Gbehzohngar Milton Findley, led the Liberian Government delegation at the dialogue, while the EU Ambassador to Liberia, Hélène Cavé, headed the European Union Delegation at the one day event.
The Seventh Political Dialogue was co-chaired by Liberia’s Foreign Minister Gbehzohngar Milton Findley and EU Ambassador to Liberia, Ms. Helene Cavé.
At the Dialogue, the two sides discussed critical economic, political and social issues, including “Creating the Conditions for Broad-Based Economic Growth and Job Creation – measures aimed at fostering an enabling business investment environment; Private Sector Development; Good Governance; Accountability and Transparency.
Other issues were the Post-Cotonou Negotiation and the Schengen Visas, among others. The two parties also highlighted the state of the Liberian economy and the country 2019/20 National Budget
Speaking at the dialogue, Foreign Minister Findley extolled the EU and its member states for the many bilateral assistance they have rendered and continue to provide the Government and people of Liberia.
Minister Findley told the meeting that Liberia will continue its bilateral engagements with the EU member countries aimed at promoting the country’s ‘Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development.
Making closing remarks, Minister Findley added: “Let me first of all thank you Madam Ambassador and members of the EU delegation; I would also like to thank all Ministers and heads of Government entities here present from the Liberian side.
“Today, once again Madam Ambassador we have been able to sit openly and to discuss those issues that are affecting our bilateral relationship and to some extent our multilateral relationship with the European Union.”
The Dean of the Cabinet expressed delight over the progress the two sides made together at the dialogue.
He indicated that since last July, both the EU and GoL have had open and frank discussions on EU-Liberia relations, stressing that “we will continue to work together to improve the living condition of the Liberian people.”
The Minister, who co-chaired the dialogue, revealed that President George Manneh Weah cannot over emphasize his concerns about the EU-Liberia relationship and has expressed his desire to continue to engage with the Union to solve the differences with the European Union.
“We will continue to liaise with you as partners to help improve the living condition of the Liberian people,” he added.
For her part, the Head of EU Delegation expressed delight over the engagement and stated that “we have addressed critical issues of concern, including political, social and economic and human rights.”
The purpose is to make progress together on a platform where questions and answers are raised from both sides and exchanges are made; we are building the country together,” she said.
Ambassador Cavé then commended the Liberian Government for systematically addressing the EU concerns and hoped that the next dialogue would take place at a reasonable timeframe with the view to take note of developments taking place in the course of six months in Liberia, adding “our assistance are linked to this.”
During the opening deliberation, the Government of Liberia briefed the EU delegation on the state of the economy, the country’s national budget as well as the Liberian business climate.
The GOL also highlighted some of the challenges the country is faced with and efforts the Weah-led administration is making in addressing some of the problems.
The European Union, for its part, underlined the importance of creating friendly business environment to enable investors come to Liberia and appreciated receiving an update from the Government on the efforts being made thus far.
The Liberian Government also informed the meeting about the condition of people in pre-trial detention in Liberia and the challenges faced by the Liberian government in dealing with the situation.
On this note, the European Union committed to continue its support for Government’s efforts to address these challenges.
The Government of Liberia also set out a number of ongoing initiatives designed to simplify and clarify business regulations geared towards creating a convenient business environment for investors.
The European Union welcomed these efforts and hoped that it would lead to greater predictability for businesses.
The Government of Liberia then briefed the EU on the economic and budgetary situations, expressing its gratitude for the European Union’s continued budgetary support.
The Government explained that the 2019/20 budget is expected to see a return to economic growth after three years of recession.
Both parties commented on the benefits of a regular exchange of views and expressed their confidence that the next administration would find the annual dialogue equally important.
The parties reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthening of their relationship and expressed the desire that the next EU-Liberia Political Dialogue would take place in accordance with the normal schedule.