Celebrating Europe Day in Nigeria

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Europe day celebrations
The delegation of the European Union (EU) in Nigeria celebrated Europe Day with representatives of the Nigerian government.

Abuja, 10 May 2022 (TDI): On Monday, the delegation of the European Union (EU) in Nigeria celebrated Europe Day with representatives of the Nigerian government. The event took place at the EU ambassador’s residence in Abuja. This is the first event to celebrate Europe Day after the outbreak of Covid-19 two years ago.

Samuela Isopi, EU’s ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, and Sunday Dare, Nigeria’s minister for youth and sports participated in the event and delivered speeches. Both EU and Nigerian attendees agreed on the significance of EU-Nigeria relations.

EUROPE-NIGERIA ECONOMIC RELATIONS

Overall, the EU accounts for about 20.9% of Nigeria’s trade with the world. The EU is also the first export destination for Nigeria, accounting for 25.4% of its exports. The economic interaction between Europe and Nigeria can be roughly divided into two types. One is that the EU directly cooperates with Nigeria, and the other is that enterprises of EU member states are having business with their Nigerian partners.

Initially, for the first type, under the umbrella of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) cycle of funding from 2014 to 2020. EU and Nigeria have cooperated widely, especially in various sectors in North Nigeria. According to the data, the cooperation plan has funding of €562 million. The funding mainly supported three main areas. They are Health, nutrition, and resilience (€280 million), sustainable energy and access to electricity (€150 million), and Rule of law, governance, and democracy (€100 million). The rest of the funding was used for other projects including civil society and support measures.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian government and local businesses are also building partnerships with companies from European Union member states. Nigeria has both great economic potential and huge needs for the development of specific industries. Therefore, Nigeria holds a big market for both local and overseas enterprises.

For instance, in April, the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari met with representatives from a European consortium named NIBI to discuss bio-pharmaceutical cooperation. According to the meeting, there will be opportunities for local Nigerian start-ups to work with professional European enterprises. Thus, European stakeholders can expand services in Nigeria, and Nigerian companies learn technologies from European partners.

The EU and Nigeria have enjoyed a mutually beneficial and ongoing economic relationship with such a multiple cooperation system.

EU AND NIGERIA WORK ON REGIONAL SECURITY

The economy is not the only highlight of the EU-Nigerian relationship. Security-related cooperation is another focus for the EU and Nigeria. Among various concerns, the maritime security collaboration for a safer Gulf of Guinea is one of the priorities.

The Foreign Minister of Nigeria, Geoffrey Onyeama also met with the EU Coordinator for Maritime, Gulf of Guinea, Nicolas Berlanga, and Ambassadors of some EU member states accredited to Nigeria and Senior EU Maritime officials in April. The meeting aimed to deepen maritime cooperation between Nigeria and the EU to create a better security situation in the Gulf of Guinea.

The collaboration on intelligence, joint military exercises, and coordinating regional security policy will provide EU-Nigerian security cooperation with more platforms and efficiency.

INTRODUCTION OF THE EUROPE DAY

Europe Day is held on 9 May every year. The origin of Europe Day is to commemorate the signing of the ‘Schuman Declaration’ on 9 May 1950. The date also aims to celebrate peace and unity in Europe. Every year, the agencies of the EU hold different kinds of activities for this special day.

The Schuman Declaration was presented by Robert Schuman, French foreign minister in 1950. The declaration proposed to create a European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). According to the declaration, members of ECSC would pool the production of coal and steel. The reason why the day marked by the signing of the ECSC Declaration can represent a Day of Europe is that the ECSC was the first of a series of supranational European institutions. After further collaboration, these institutions ultimately become today’s “European Union”. Besides, the founding members of the ECSC include France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg.

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