Council Common Position of 27 May 2002 on Nigeria and repealing Common Position 2001/373/CFSP


Published: 2002-05-27

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Council Common Position of 27 May 2002 on Nigeria and repealing Common Position 2001/373/CFSP

Official Journal L 139 , 29/05/2002 P. 0001 - 0003


Council Common Position

of 27 May 2002

on Nigeria and repealing Common Position 2001/373/CFSP

(2002/401/CFSP)

THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty on the European Union, and in particular Article 15 thereof,

Whereas:

(1) Nigeria, by virtue of its political and economic influence, population and size, has an important international and regional role to play and has at present a crucial opportunity to consolidate democracy and socio-economic development in its country.

(2) The European Union (EU) attaches great importance to its relations with Nigeria which, as a signatory to the ACP-EC partnership agreement signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000(1), is a key partner of the EU in terms of political, economic, trade and development cooperation.

(3) The EU intends to maintain a positive, constructive and consistent approach, so as to support Nigeria in its efforts to consolidate democracy and advance socio-economic development.

(4) The EU welcomes the achievements of the Nigerian authorities to date in this regard and encourages them to maintain their commitment to progress in areas where they still face considerable challenges, in particular in the areas of security and human rights, electoral and constitutional reforms, governance and economic reform.

(5) The EU, mindful of the effect that conflicts and human rights violations could have on the fragile democratic process in Nigeria, has noticed with concern the recent rise in level of political, ethnic and religious violence, and the difficulties experienced with the implementation of economic reforms.

(6) Action by the EU is needed in order to implement certain measures,

HAS ADOPTED THIS COMMON POSITION:

Article 1

1. The objective of this Common Position is to strengthen the mutually beneficial relations between the EU and Nigeria in all areas of common interest.

2. The EU will pursue a consistent and coherent approach towards Nigeria, covering policies within the political, economic, trade and development fields, with a view to supporting and encouraging Nigeria's own processes of:

(a) consolidating democracy and respect for human rights;

(b) reducing poverty and achieving sustainable institutional reform, social and economic development;

(c) enhancing its capacity to contribute to regional integration, peace, security and development.

3. While the EU recognises that progress in these efforts is crucially dependent on activity by the Federal Government of Nigeria, it also acknowledges the increasingly important role of the Federal States in the areas of development.

Article 2

1. Strengthened relations between the EU and Nigeria shall be based on equality, dialogue and shared values of respect for human rights, democratic principles, the rule of law and good governance.

2. This is to be achieved through a constructive political dialogue, as well as efficient development cooperation. This cooperation will be guided by Nigerian priorities, will be poverty-oriented and will involve close Nigeria-led donor coordination, broad participation, accountability and transparency.

Article 3

The EU considers the following as the key areas for future EU support:

(a) Development of a democratic culture:

This includes respect, protection and fulfilment of human rights and promotion of equality, regardless of social and ethnic origin, gender and religion, in accordance with Nigeria's international human rights obligations. This democratic culture shall be nurtured, inter alia,through:

(i) broad participation in the political process,

(ii) fostering a climate of free and inclusive debate,

(iii) support to civil society,

(iv) support to processes of reconciliation related to human rights violations,

(v) the respect of national laws and international norms and conventions,

(b) Institutional capacity-building:

(i) constitutional review process,

(ii) electoral system, in view of forthcoming elections,

(iii) good governance and enhanced and careful management of Nigeria's own resources,

(iv) budget management,

(v) education system reform and professional training,

(vi) safety, security and access to justice for all through reform of police, judiciary and penal systems,

(vii) re-professionalisation of the military and disbanding of para-military groups,

(viii) support to Nigerian capacity to analyse, anticipate and take preventive measures in respect of internal conflicts, and to better manage conflict and post conflict situations;

(c) Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) and development cooperation with the overall aim of poverty reduction:

The EU will encourage and work with the Nigerian authorities to help develop a coherent and comprehensive PRSP, through a process inclusive of civil society. The PRSP, and its subsequent implementation, is an important framework for sustainable achievements in poverty reduction.

(d) Economic growth and development:

The EU will continue to encourage the Nigerian authorities to pursue comprehensive and thorough economic and administrative policy reform measures and the diversification of the economy and to take action to combat the widespread problem of corruption in order to create a business and investment-friendly environment. The EU recognises its responsibility as well as the role the private sector can play in this area, taking into account relevant EU instruments as well as the OECD Convention on combating bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions.

(e) Strengthening Nigerian capacity to contribute to regional integration, conflict prevention management and resolution in West Africa:

The EU shall develop dialogue and experience-sharing with Nigeria on regional issues of common interest (inter alia, crises and political and economic integration). Within the framework of its policy on conflict prevention, management and resolution in Africa, the EU will support and encourage strengthened Nigerian peace-keeping capacities.

Article 4

The EU stresses the importance of encouraging:

(a) a broad involvement of public authorities and civil society in the partnership between the EU and Nigeria; and

(b) the building of civil society networks of non-State actors committed to the processes of democracy and development in Nigeria, both within the EU and Nigeria respectively and between the EU and Nigeria.

Article 5

1. The EU shall maintain a close and regular political dialogue with Nigeria. The dialogue shall primarily be held with the Federal Government but could also associate civil society as appropriate and, in agreement with the Federal Government, State Governments. The dialogue will encompass all matters of mutual concern.

2. To ensure continuity, the primary responsibility for conducting the dialogue on behalf of the EU will be assigned to the EU Heads of Mission in Nigeria. High-level contacts shall be pursued on a regular basis.

Article 6

The Council notes that the Commission intends to direct its action towards achieving the objectives and priorities of this Common Position, where appropriate by pertinent Community measures.

Article 7

In implementing this Common Position, the EU will cooperate closely with the United Nations, the Organisation of African Unity, the Economic Community of West African States, the international financial institutions and other interested parties.

Article 8

This Common Position shall be reviewed annually.

Article 9

Council Common Position 2001/373/CFSP of 14 May 2001 on Nigeria(2) is hereby repealed.

Article 10

This Common Position shall take effect on the day of its adoption.

Article 11

This Common Position shall be published in the Official Journal.

Done at Brussels, 27 May 2002.

For the Council

The President

M. Arias Cañete

(1) OJ L 317, 15.12.2000, p. 3.

(2) OJ L 132, 15.5.2001, p. 1.