The European Union is committed to ensuring that it remains relevant in the Pacific, and more especially in Papua New Guinea.
Speaking to National EMTV News recently, EU Deputy Secretary General Jean-Christophe Belliard said that whilst the focus of many countries is the geo-political tug-of-war between China and the United States, the EU is offering an alternative to development in the region.
Against a backdrop of increasing tensions between China and the United States – the Pacific Region has become the new battleground for the world superpowers.
Recent geo-political tensions also providing an opportunity for these superpowers to woo the Pacific Region, and individual island states.
On a recent visit to Papua New Guinea, the European Union’s Deputy Secretary General Jean-Christophe Belliard spoke to National EMTV News on the stance taken by the EU to offer an alternative to this region – an alternative that he says can be used to promote positive development in this part of the world.
“We want to propose something on the menu so that there is also for this part of the world a choice not to have one choice to have a possibility of deciding and this is very important to keep your independence and your sovereignty.”
Given Papua New Guinea’s position as an important influencer in the Pacific, the EU has embarked on strengthening development ties with Papua New Guinea.
This partnership to be undertaken in various sectors, with a particular view to building capacity of the public sector.
According to Deputy Secretary General Belliard, with a new Government here in PNG, there is also renewed optimism that issues such as a perception of corruption can also be addressed – an area in which the EU stands ready to assist.
“we have the feeling that there is a new atmosphere here we think it is positive remember good things have been said, now it must be implemented …and there are also very good things said about the EU and relation between PNG and the EU and we want to seize this moment to try to push things forward.”
Belliard’s visit to PNG comes at a time when the EU Mission to PNG also welcomes its new Head of Delegation, Jenerj Videtic.
According to Belliard, the role of the EU Head of Delegation will be crucial as the EU looks to strengthen development ties with Papua New Guinea now and into the future.
By Meriba Tulo, EMTV News, Port Moresby