Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

FSM welcomes EU Ambassador Frans Baan

PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Information Service): April 18, 2002 - On April 10 2002, a credential ceremony in Palikir formalized the relationship between the European Union and the Federated States of Micronesia.

The ceremony in the President's cabinet room included members of the President's Cabinet, Speaker of Pohnpei State Legislature, and members of the Diplomatic Corp.

Ambassador Marinus Frans Baan form the European Commission (EC), presented to President Leo A. Falcam his Letters of Credence as the European Commission's Ambassador to the FSM.

Ambassador Frans Baan represents the first mission of the European Commission to the FSM. The Ambassador is the European Commission's Head of the Delegation to the Pacific Region based in Suva.

The European Union is a unique institutional system with 15 Member States that delegate sovereignty of certain matters to independent institutions that represent the interests of the Union as a whole.

In addition to the Court of Justice and the Court of Auditors, the other primary independent institutions in the EU are:

  1. The Council of European Union - comprised of each national member government, is the main decision making body;

  2. The European Parliament - elected by the people, it is the expression of the democratic will of the Union's citizens;

  3. The European Commission (EC) - it is the executive body responsible for implementing and managing policy, and also acts as the guardian of treaties such as the African Caribbean Pacific and EU (ACP-EU) Partnership Agreement, which FSM is a member.

An Agreement based on the European countries intent to continue with forms of assistance to former overseas territories in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific in order to strengthen the economies of the countries.

The revised ACP-EU Agreement, known as the Cotonou Agreement, is a comprehensive aid and trade agreement aimed to "promote and expedite the economic, cultural development of the ACP States, with a view to promoting peace and security and to promoting a stable and democratic integration of the ACP countries in to the world economy."

Ambassador Frans Baan referred to the Cotonou Agreement as a "partnership" of co-operation between all actors in society, the Governmental and Non-Governmental Organization. He said the Cotonou spirit strongly support "active participation by the private sector, economic interest groups and Non-Government Organizations."

The Ambassador emphasized that under the direct national co-operation he was confident that "at the European Commission level that the Cotonou Programming process presently underway, will lead us into a mutually agreed direction of the identification and promotion of new and renewable source of energy for the outer islands." In addition, he indicated that FSM will equally benefit from the Pacific Regional Programs in the areas of: Fisheries, Plant Protection, and Economic Integration, and many others.

Past EU regional assistance has included support to tourism, agriculture, energy, telecommunications, fisheries, shipping, meteorology, civil aviation and education.

The European Union is the largest donor for the Forum Island Countries with more than EURO $1billion provided over the past 25 years under the Lome Agreement, now succeeded by the Cotonou Agreement.

The FSM signed the Cotonou Agreement in November 2000 and was ratified it the following year. The FSM has since followed through with its creation of a National Authorizing Committee as the implementing entity in the FSM on all Cotonou related matters.

President Falcam said FSM's membership in the Cotonou provides "a new avenue of development cooperation with the European Union." The Agreement would, he said, play a significant role in FSM's nation building process. He further said that, "while our capacity is limited, we will actively participate in the discussions and dialogue within the ACP-EU framework of cooperation."

The President referred to Ambassador Frans Baans accreditation as an important milestone of achievement for the nation as it opens a new chapter of "closer economic and political relations with the European Commission and members of the European Union."

President Falcam thanked the Ambassador for the generous assistance the European Union extended to FSM and expressed the nation's commitment to expand on the newly established relationship.

The ceremony ended with both sides pledging to working closely to promote "excellent relations" between the Federated States of Micronesia and the European Union.

The FSM has diplomatic ties with 11 of the European Union's 15 Member States: Germany, Spain, Austria, Sweden, United Kingdom, Italy- 1992; France -1993; Portugal - 1995; The Netherlands, Greece and Belgium - 1996. Bilateral relations have yet to be formed with the other four: Denmark, Luxembourg, Finland and Ireland.

Ambassador Marinus Frans Baan's background is rich in experiences that spanned the globe. Born in the Netherlands, the 49yr old Ambassador's experiences prior to the EC, extended from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Food and Agriculture Organization in Mexico and Barbados to Rwanda.

In 1984, the Ambassador entered into service with the European Union, a move that provided extensive experience in leadership roles heading Delegations and Units in Europe and Africa. A role which on April 12 2002, brought him to the FSM, as the European Commission's Head of Delegation to the Pacific Region.

Ambassador Frans Baan has scheduled visits to meet the Leadership of the States of Pohnpei, Chuuk and Yap.

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356