By Maureen Okon
Ms Samuela Isopi, the Ambassador to the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, has put the trade volume between the bloc and Nigeria in 2021, at 28.7 billion euros.
The envoy said this at the Europe Day celebration, which was held at the EU Residence in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria ( NAN) reports that, the Europe Day is a day set aside for celebrating peace and unity among the European countries that form the EU since 1950.
The theme of the 2022 Europe Day celebration is; ‘ Peace , Cooperation and Unity. The celebration holds every May 9 after Robert Schuman Declaration which launched the European projects.
Isopi said that the EU as a bloc remained Nigeria’s biggest trading partners accounting for more than 20 per cent of Nigerian trade with the world.
”In 2021 the volume of EU-Nigeria trade stood at 28.7 billion euros, an increase of more than 25 per cent over 2020, with a trade balance of 6.4 billion euros in favour of Nigeria.
According to her, the bloc is Nigeria’s first partner in foreign direct investment, with EU companies contributing, together with their Nigerian business partner, to the country’s economic growth, job creation and wealth generation.
She said the bloc was looking further in strengthening these relations and to help create the necessary condition for the private sector to operate and contribute to developing the country.
She said the bloc would continue to work with EU Member States, the European Investment Bank and other EU Development Financial Institutions, as ‘Team Europe’ to implement their joint vision.
She also pledged EU’s determination to continue working with Nigeria to enhance security, development and its vision for the future.
She added that the bloc in bringing back peace in the North-East it would support recovery , peace building and the fight against terrorism and violent extremism , through the Multinational Joint Task Force
She said that the bloc would want to work together to strengthen multilateralism, democracy human rights, free and fair trade and sustainable development.
Isopi said that Schuman”s proposed idea to end the conflicts amongst European nations that has been going on for a thousand years through bringing their resources together under a joint control to end the war then.
She added that the idea of Schuman worked and also the project to unite the nations was today more relevant than ever.
“To our citizens, but also to the world and to our partners, such as Nigeria, who share the same values that are at the heart of our union.
“And, who want to work together to strengthen multilateralism, democracy human rights, free and fair trade and sustainable development.
“The bloc have seen crises starting from Brexit, COVID-19 pandemic which has profoundly affected European countries and economies and deeply transformed our societies.
“Observers predict that the EU was doomed to fail but with challenges come opportunities.
“The bloc has responded with unparalleled unity and solidarity, taking bold and unprecedented common decisions that have deepened our union,” she said.
She added that the celebration has an important meaning because since Feb. 24, Europe has seen the return of war on a large scale on its soil.
The envoy said that a war whose impact was felt across the world, but that affects first and foremost Europe and the EU.
“The war in Ukraine reminds us in a dramatic way of the enduring value of the European Union as a peace project among Europeans.
She quoted the President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, as saying” The Russian invasion of Ukraine reminds us why we are celebrating Europe Day, to mark when a peaceful, prosperous Europe was born.
“Then, 72 years later, Europe is united in solidarity with the Ukrainian people, who aspire a future of freedom and a European future,” she said.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Isaac Aregbesola