Amb. Timothy Clarke, the European Union new representative to the EAC, on Friday, delivered a letter from the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, which reaffirmed a desire for deeper and closer relations between the European bloc and the EAC.
Clarke, who is also the EU Head of Delegation in Tanzania, presented his letter of accreditation to EAC Secretary General, Juma Mwapachu, in a ceremony held at the EAC Secretariat headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
“The EU envoy emphasized the importance of regional integration, saying it guarantees peace, security and better trade for the East African people and added that his organization provides a useful model for the EAC to learn from,” reads a communiqué from the EAC secretariat.
As revealed, in a brief statement before receiving Clarke’s letter of accreditation, Mwapachu noted that the EU was a key partner of the EAC, adding that the accreditation of the EU envoy “is not just symbolic but goes to the heart of how we can put a legal underpinning to this relationship.”
“We are very proud that EU which has enormous knowledge and experience in regional integration, has nominated a Representative to the EAC,” Mwapachu is quoted.
The new envoy to the bloc is reported to have used the occasion to reiterate the EU’s commitment to reaching an agreement on the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the EAC, saying that both parties have a common interest in the EPAs.
“We are totally committed to restarting negotiations in the EAC,” Mwapachu declared.
Both officials however observed that there had been a lull, mainly attributed to election exercises taking place in four of the five EAC Partner States.
Other countries that have appointed representatives to the EAC include Brazil, USA, Denmark, Turkey, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), The Netherlands, Japan, Belgium, France, Canada and India.
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has also appointed a representative to the regional grouping.