BRIEF HISTORY ABOUT EU-LBERIA RELATIONS

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The presence of the European Commission’s bureau in Liberia since 1973, has not only been maintained but tailored towards our national priorities. This has earned the EU a place as a prime and very significant ally and sponsor of Liberia’s socio-economic development. In fulfillment of the ACP-EC partnership agreement, we have successfully held two very important political dialogues with the third still pending.

The EU and its member states continue to provide the needed support to Liberia in priority areas of infrastructure, security, human rights, agriculture, energy, and education. Liberia remains ever partner to EU member countries within the context of the Paris Club which were very gracious in cancelling a very significant portion of Liberia’s debt, thereby giving us more fiscal space to engage in meaningful developments.

On the regional perspective,  the European Union has committed providing an additional sum of at least 6.5 billion euros for activities associated with the EPA development program in West Africa, during the period 2015- 2020. The partnership between West Africa and the European Union falls in line with joint Africa-EU strategy, for sustainable economic development that stands to inevitably benefit the West African populace, including the most vulnerable poor segment.

Protocols and Agreements

Liberia-European Union Voluntary Partnership bilateral agreement between European Union and the Republic of Liberia

Consolidation of the peace process in Liberia and advancing stability, strengthening the institutions of government and laying the foundation for development.

European Union relations with Liberia is governed by the Lomé Convention, which was first ratified by forty six (46) African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) countries in 1975 with then European Economic Community (EEC).

Liberia is one of the seventy nine (79) African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries, which have jointly negotiated a comprehensive partnership agreement with the twenty seven (27) European Union member states. The Cotonou Agreement was signed in 2000 and was revised in 2005.

That the Cotonou Agreement builds in the achievements of the four  Lomé Conventions, which for more than thirty five (35) years (1975-2011) formed the basis of co-operation between the European Union and (ACP) countries. The partnership marks clear association between the political dimensions, trade and development.

That since the Cotonou Agreement, the European Commission’s cooperation with Liberia has been focused on our poverty reduction strategy. The European Development Fund (EDF) continues to finance programs and projects which has contributed immensely to our economic, social and culture development.

The agreement establishes a mechanism for dialogue and cooperation with European Union on the flegt scheme, via the joint implementation committee. It also establishes principals of stakeholder participation, social safeguards, accountability and transparency and monitoring of and reporting on implementation of the agreement.

Structures and Activities

The European Development Fund (EDF) is the main instrument for European Union (EU) aid for development cooperation in Africa, the Carribbean, and Pacific (ACP group) countries and the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT). Funding is provided by voluntary donations by European Union member states. Liberia joined the ACP group in 1973 and has since benefitted from all the EDF packages since then.

Each EDF lays out EU assistance to both individual countries and regions as a whole usually lasting 5 years. The European Union is currently on its 10th EDF from 2014-2020 with a budget of €31.59 billion. This currently represents about 30% of European Union spending on development cooperation aid, with the remainder coming directly from the European Union’s budget. The budget of the 10th EDF has ended and the 11th EDF has begun. The total budget can be broken down as follows:

€21.966 million to the ACP countries (97% of the total),

€17.766 million to the national and regional indicative programs (81% of the ACP total),

€2.700 million to intra-ACP and intra-regional cooperation (12% of the ACP total),

€1.500 million to investment facilities (7% of the ACP total).

€286 million to the OCTs (1% of the total),

€430 million to the commission as support expenditure for programming and implementation of the EDF (2% of the total)

Liberia’s benefits

Under the 11th EDF, Liberia benefits from more than €227 million which is being used across various sectors of government including:

Energy – (€100 million)

Social sectors (education – €35 million)

Agriculture/forestry (€40 million)

Governance (€25 million)

The European Union also has other thematic budget lines through which other development activities in Liberia are funded, like the food security budget line, the community facility budget line for community groups {non state actors (NGOs, civil society, etc)}.

Most of these funding are done through the national authorizing office at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, which came into being as a result of Liberia’s membership in the ACP group in 1973. Today, Liberia is a signatory of the Cotonou Agreement signed in 2000, revised in 2005 and 2010.

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