However, there is one pillar of stability amidst the turmoil: The European Union is "committed to consolidate its position" (read: dish out even more of European taxpayers´money) as a "reliable and substantial development and climate change partner in the Pacific". No matter how empty the coffers at home are, the EU grandees are always delighted to fly first class to some exotic Pacific island in order to bring yet another announcement of new new aid millions to the natives:
Tomorrow, European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, will attend in Auckland the EU-Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Meeting, along with Christian Friis Bach, Minister of Development Cooperation of Denmark, who represents the High Representative/Vice-President of the Commission Catherine Ashton. A wide range of issues affecting the region will be discussed, such as climate change, sustainable development, economic stability, growth and trade, and development cooperation. The positions ahead of the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on sustainable development of 20-22 June will also constitute a part of the debate and focus on how the EU and the Pacific could reach a substantial outcome in Rio+20 especially around the adoption of concrete goals and targets supporting the transition to an inclusive green economy.
Ahead of the Ministerial meeting, Danish Minister for Development Cooperation Christian Friis Bach, said: ''Our presence here demonstrates the EU's expanding interest and continuous engagement in the Pacific, as a foreign policy priority for the EU. Our cooperation has worked well both in political and financial terms, but we can still do more. In the future, we expect that our partnership will continue to grow and intensify. The EU is committed to consolidate its position as a reliable and substantial development and climate change partner in the Pacific''.
"The European Union is a global player and respects its global commitments. The Pacific Islands are the first to suffer the impact of climate change, which is why the EU decided to take the lead in rallying substantial international community support for the Pacific's climate change adaptation efforts. The ministerial meeting gives us yet another opportunity to strengthen our partnership and take forward our shared positions to international stage. Rio+20 conference will give us an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to sustainable development and green economy."
At the core of EU-Pacific partnership is cooperation on climate change; the single greatest threat to the region. Since the EU and the Pacific Islands Forum adopted the Joint Declaration on Climate Change in November 2008, EU-Pacific cooperation on climate change has increased substantially, both politically and financially.
The EU and its Member States are the largest donor worldwide and the second in the region, after Australia.
On top of resources for development and climate change initially allocated to the Pacific ACP countries for the period 2008-2013, the EU has made available a financial package of €110 million in additional climate change related resources committed by the Commission since 2008.
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