The European Union delegation in Nigeria, on Monday, celebrated European Union Day.
The event, which took place at the EU ambassador’s residence in Abuja, is the first after two years of Covid-19 pandemic.
Samuela Isopi, EU’s ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, while addressing guests at the event, said the commemoration takes on a very important meaning.
“Since February 24, Europe has seen the return of war on a large scale on its soil. A war whose impact is felt across the world, but that affects first and foremost Europe and the EU,” she said.
Ms Isopi noted that this year’s celebration is especially important in the context of the Russia-Ukraine war which has lasted over two months.
“The war in Ukraine reminds us in a dramatic way of the enduring value of the European Union as a peace project among Europeans,” she said.
Europe Day celebrates Europe’s achievements, peace and unity, and commemorates the signing of the Schuman Declaration on May 9, 1950. This marked the beginning of what is now the European Union.
Ms Isopi added that the Europe Day is also a key moment in the year to celebrate our (EU) partnership and to renew our commitment to pursue with increased determination our long-standing engagement with Nigeria, to make it stronger and closer to the people.
Sunday Dare, Nigeria’s minister for youth and sports, speaking at the event, thanked the EU for its partnership and support to Nigeria over the years.
Ms Isopi outlined the EU’s achievements and partnerships with Nigeria. She said the EU was committed to long-term support aligned with its shared priorities, values and interests with Nigeria.
The Multiannual Indicative Programme for Nigeria 2021-2027 targets projects that reinforce EU’s bilateral cooperation with Nigeria in three focal areas of Green and Digital Economy; Governance, Peace and Migration; and Human Development. The EU is working with its Member States, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and other EU Development Finance Institutions in the implementation of the agreed priorities, as Team Europe.
The EU is one of Nigeria’s biggest trading partners, with about €28.7 billion in trade as at 2021 between EU and Nigeria; a 25.8 per cent increase over that of 2020. The EU’s imports from Nigeria stood at €17.5 billion, while its exports were valued at €11.2 billion, with the trade balance at €6.4 billion in favour of Nigeria.
The EU accounts for about 20.9 per cent of Nigeria’s trade with the world. The EU is also the first export destination for Nigeria, accounting for 25.4 per cent of its exports. The EU is second in Nigeria’s imports from the world accounting for 16.1 per cent of its total imports.
The EU day took off on Friday with the lighting up of the City Gate; a reception at the ambassador’s residence; an open day at the delegation’s premises on Wednesday amongst other activities.
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