EU Seeking Strong Ties with Ethiopia Through Deepening Strategic Engagement

The European Union (EU) stressed the need for deepening a strategic engagement with Ethiopia that was signed thus far, Head of Delegation to Ethiopia, Ambassador, Roland Kobia said.

In his briefing about the historical prospect of the relationship between Ethiopia and the EU, Ambassador Kobia said Ethiopia is the long-standing partner of Europe.

“We are the deepest and long-standing partner with Ethiopia. I think this is something that can be forgotten because sometimes if our relationship gets…difficulty, while we have managed it for 500 years of history together… Europe is the oldest partner of Ethiopia when it comes to the number of years by far. Nobody was here 500 years ago.”

For instance, the ambassador mentioned Portugal, one of the EU member countries, which is celebrating its five hundred years of cooperation with Ethiopia.

Moreover, the EU and Ethiopia have signed numerous strategic engagements with a view to consolidating the historical relationship.

For him, Ethiopia is one of a few countries which the EU has a strategic engagement.

“EU and Ethiopia have signed a strategic engagement. This is extremely important because we don’t have many strategic engagements. Actually we have very few strategic partners and with few countries,” the head noted.

According to Kobia: “ We signed a joint Ethiopian-EU strategic engagement. It is written on the text. This means a lot in terms of what we want to do together, how deep we want to cooperate and how wide we want to partnership.”

The partnership covers many spheres between the two sides including regional peace and stability, countering terrorism and violent radicalization as well as migration, social and economic development, investment and trade, climate change and environmental cooperation.

However, Ambassador Kobia acknowledged that the relationship between the two sides had gone through difficult times following the conflict in northern Ethiopia.

Now, Ethiopia and the EU are normalizing the relationship on the basis of a peace agreement for Ethiopia has been implementing and moving towards lasting peace, he noted.

Accordingly, the EU has now proposed a political offer to become a political partner with Ethiopia and strategically engage each other on important issues.

“It is not only about development aid. But how can we be political partners? It is all about how we can strategically engage each other on important issues for Ethiopia, for the EU and also for the world. It also includes how the EU and Ethiopia will have a new approach to cooperate on international terrorism and among other areas…”

As the EU is a number one trading partner of Ethiopia, Ambassador Kobia indicated that the union is desirous to maximize the trade volumes between the two sides.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency