RELATIONS WITH THE EU
The European Union and Nigeria
Key elements in the EU-Nigeria partnership are regular political dialogues and strengthened collaboration to fight violent extremism; improve peace and security, migration, good governance, democracy, human rights, trade and regional integration; and to address key development issues, including energy, water and sanitation, health, food security, resilience, environmental sustainability and climate change, and as well, enhance regional cooperation.
In 2008, the EU and Nigeria agreed on a broader political framework known as the EU-Nigeria Joint Way Forward, in order to deepen their relationship. The agreement establishes the principles, guidelines and priority areas for enhanced political dialogue and cooperation, in the wider context of the EU’s relations with the African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) countries.
Areas of mutual interest and concern for intensified dialogue include peace and security, migration, good governance and democracy, human rights, trade, and regional integration, among others. Also included are justice sector reform, support to free and fair elections and regional cooperation.
A Ministerial level dialogue takes place once a year with other meetings at Senior Officials' Level happening more frequently. Ad hoc meetings on matters of common interest, including regional, continental and global issues, can take place when agreed between the two parties.
Currently, the EU’s development cooperation with Nigeria focuses on three key sectors:
Social sector: improving access to quality primary health care, fight malnutrition, strengthening resilience and social protection; supporting immunization campaigns; improving access to clean water and sanitation, and reinforcing livelihoods.
Governance sector: supporting actions to strengthen democracy, fight against corruption, trafficking of human beings, drugs and small arms, reforming the justice system, managing migration more effectively, and building capacity for civil society organisations.
Economic sector: prioritising actions to increase production and distribution of electricity, improve economic competitiveness and diversification away from oil, promote the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency and strengthen public finance systems at state and federal levels.
Nigeria Trade and Investment
The European Union has robust trade relations with Nigeria and remains its most important trading partner for oil and non-oil exports. Nigeria is also a key beneficiary of the EU Foreign Direct Investment. The EU Delegation is responsible for dialogue with Nigeria and ECOWAS authorities, investors and civil society, on a wide spectrum of matters affecting bilateral, regional and multilateral trade issues, such as the advocacy of regional and international trade as a tool for development, the identification of bottlenecks to investments, and the promotion of West African economic integration and intra-regional trade through the EU-West Africa Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). The EPA, when signed, will support West Africa's investment, industrialisation, and diversification objectives (including agriculture), most noticeably through the opening of markets in Europe, whilst continuing to provide safeguards for West African companies.
Besides the traditional development cooperation with the government, the EU has put in place new instruments of engagement with the private sector aimed at creating jobs, growing an inclusive economy and generating wealth and prosperity.
The EU, through the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid, supports international relief organisations operating in Nigeria. Since 2010, the EU has funded humanitarian partners in providing emergency food assistance, health and protection to displaced people and victims of conflict, as well as in improving the community management of acute malnutrition.
Currently, the EU is focussed on providing the basic needs for those displaced in North-East Nigeria following over a decade of insurgency. Furthermore, in order to increase the delivery of coordinated assistance, the EU is advocating an increased presence of international humanitarian actors in Nigeria who are limited in number due to the difficult operating environment.
Since the beginning of 2014, a total of €285 million has been allocated to humanitarian assistance in Nigeria.
EU and Nigeria’s Response to COVID-19 Crisis
The EU is taking the lead in supporting partner countries, including Nigeria, to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic by combining resources from the EU, its Member States and European financial institutions, under the ‘Team Europe’ initiative. At the onset of the pandemic in Nigeria, the EU rapidly mobilised €50 million to help the country’s national response. In addition, over €9 million grant in humanitarian aid was given to Nigeria to boost prevention and response. The EU in Nigeria has also supported the rollout of vaccines in Nigeria with $14.5 million.
The EU played a leading role in setting up the COVAX Facility, the global initiative that allows for high-income countries, including Nigeria, to fund vaccines for low and middle-income countries, with Team Europe as a leading donor. The EU also supported Nigeria by providing food and basic items to those most in need and to people with disabilities.