The Third Senior Officials Meeting between the Maldives and the European Union (EU) was held on 25 October 2022 in Malé, Maldives.
This meeting re-affirmed the positive and growing momentum in the relations between the two sides over the past years. The Maldives and the European Union re-confirmed their strong mutual interest in further strengthening their bilateral relations, rooted in shared values and commitments, the principles of the UN Charter and international law, and to further deepening the engagement, including through the implementation of the EU Strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.
The EU commended the positive contributions made by Abdulla Shahid, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Maldives in his capacity as the President of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly and congratulated him for the successful completion of his term.
The EU welcomed the Government of Maldives’ commitment towards consolidation of democratic governance, strengthening the rule of law and fighting corruption, promotion and protection of human rights and implementing reforms in the justice sector. The EU re-affirmed its continuous strong support to the Maldives’ endeavours, and importance for these reforms to be implemented.
As close partners in the multilateral domain, both Maldives and EU reiterated their intention to expand the existing partnership and work closely in the UN and all relevant multilateral fora, including to address global challenges such as peace and security, climate change and biodiversity, water and plastic pollution.
The EU congratulated the Maldives on being elected to the UN Human Rights Council for the term 2023-2025 and expressed hope for strong cooperation in the promotion and protection of human rights in the multilateral framework.
The Maldives and the EU underlined the importance attached to the freedom of expression and opinion as essential foundations for democracy and the rule of law. The Maldives and EU also highlighted their continued strong support to civil society.
The Maldives welcomed the EU’s Multi-Annual Indicative Programme (MIP) for the Maldives 2021-2027, the first dedicated envelope to the Maldives since 2013. With EUR 12 million (MVR 178.6 million) allocated for the period 2021-2024 under the MIP, both the Maldives and EU agreed to deepen cooperation in green transition, climate change mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity protection and circular economy, and continued support for good governance, rule of law and security.
Through the MIP, the Maldives would receive support from the EU in key areas of the Strategic Action Plan 2019-2023 and the National Resilience and Recovery Plan. The Maldives especially welcomed EU’s new actions for judiciary reforms and biodiversity protection.
The Maldives and the EU concurred on the need to enhance security cooperation especially in areas of counterterrorism and preventing violent extremism and agreed to explore avenues and expand the partnership, including through a new project focused on increasing security in the Maldives.
As partners in trade and investment, both the Maldives and EU agreed to enhance economic cooperation through mechanisms such as the Business Roundtable initiative.
The EU and the Maldives are committed to the global fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and look forward to strengthening their bilateral partnership in this domain. Sustainable management of fish stocks through the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission was discussed.
The Government of the Maldives reiterated its request to the EU to consider granting duty free access for sustainably sourced tuna products from the Maldives. Recalling the importance of enhancing people-to-people ties between the two sides, the Maldives also reiterated its request for visa free travel for Maldivian nationals to travel to EU Member states.
The Third Senior Officials Meeting between the Maldives and the EU was held in a hybrid format with the discussions co-chaired by Ahmed Khaleel, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Paola Pampaloni, Deputy Managing Director for Asia and Pacific at the European External Action Service.