Reunion to open first office in Seychelles as a byproduct of new EU programme
The agreement signed on Friday will allow Seychelles to benefit from around $11.8 million of funds from the European Union. (Seychelles Nation)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Reunion will be opening its first office in Seychelles after the signing of an agreement aimed at making transactions with the European Union (EU) and Indian Ocean countries easier.
The agreement signed on Friday at the Department of Foreign Affairs will allow Seychelles to benefit from around $11.8 million of funds from the EU.
The Seychelles’ Foreign Secretary, Claude Morel, said, “It is a first agreement that we have signed with Reunion and it is also a debut with other countries of the region. There are certain countries that have been targeted for this form of cooperation with Reunion Island.”
The agreement falls under the ‘European territorial INTERREG V Indian Ocean’ for 2014 to 2020. It is a programme in which $74 million is allocated by the European Union to strengthen partnerships with countries in the southern Indian Ocean which include the Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Mozambique, Kenya, India, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Australia, as well as the French Southern and Antarctic Lands.
Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, has between now and 2022 to make its requests and projects for implementation under the agreement in consultation with Reunion Island.
“Reunion has already told us it is up to us to decide on the projects. There are some priority areas that have already been discussed such as in environment, tourism, education and health,” said Morel.
On his part, the President of the Regional Council of Reunion, Didier Robert, said, “I salute the engagement of Mr. Morel in this transaction and the attention he gives to the success and development of cooperation between our islands.”
Robert added that “our population are winners; our population will come out greater with those exchanges. It’s a convention of action with projects that will allow us to progress.”
He also highlighted the improvements in cooperation in the tourism industry, with cruise ships visiting both islands as well as in aviation, whereby shorter flights between the two countries have been established.
Robert said that although much has been accomplished it is still insufficient.
Seychelles’ Foreign Secretary said that signing of the agreement will allow new development in the relations between Reunion and Seychelles.
Prior to the signing, the President of the Regional Council of Reunion met the President of Seychelles Danny Faure at State House. Faure said that Robert’s visit “reflects the quality of friendship and cooperation between the two sister islands, forged by a common history and a strong cultural and linguistic affinity.”
The two Presidents stressed the importance they attach to the development and intensification of the links between Seychelles and Reunion in various sectors.
Reunion will also be participating in activities organised in the 32nd edition of the Creole Festival which was officially opened on Friday.