11 March 2019

The Government of Maldives and the Delegation of the European Union issue the following joint press release in agreement with the Ambassadors of France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, and the High Commissioner of the United Kingdom resident in Colombo, as well as the Ambassadors of Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and Sweden resident in New Delhi.

The Maldives and the European Union held their fourth annual Policy Dialogue on 11 March 2019 in the Maldives. The discussions were open and constructive covering a number of thematic areas, including democracy and governance, strengthening of the justice sector, promotion and protection of human rights, climate change and the environment.

As this was the first Policy Dialogue since the inauguration of the new government, the EU offered its congratulations and welcomed the ambitious reform agenda. The Government of Maldives shared its policies and priorities, including the 100-day agenda. The government also confirmed its firm commitment to consolidate democracy, ensure good governance, and promote respect for human rights.

Prioritising judicial reform and the fight against corruption, the EU and the Maldives agreed to explore opportunities to strengthen the judicial system and the rule of law in the Maldives, including respect for civil and political rights. The Maldives reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring the safety and security of its people and European tourists. The EU reiterated its support for areas such as counter-terrorism and security reform. The EU also reassured of its continued cooperation on global challenges such as climate change and environmental issues, which constitute important priorities for both. The EU also shared details of its sustainable, comprehensive and rules-based EU-Asia Connectivity Strategy.

The Government expressed its interest for the EU to consider granting duty free access for its fisheries products. The EU took note of the request but highlighted the requirement for the Maldives to fully comply with IUU fishing regulations.

The EU Member States also took note of the Government's request to explore the means of facilitating the Schengen Visa process in the Maldives.

The Maldives delegation was led by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Abdulla Shahid. The EU Heads of Mission were led by Mr. Tung-Lai Margue, Ambassador of the European Union to the Maldives. The EU Heads of Mission also made a courtesy call on H.E President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih following the Policy Dialogue.