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SUVA, Fiji Islands (September 25, 2002 – Radio Australia)---A top official from the European Union will visit the Pacific region next week to launch development assistance programs.

European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Poul Nielson, will start his visit in Fiji before touring Tonga, Samoa, Papua New Guinea and the Federated States of Micronesia.

Radio Australia correspondent Mika Loga reports, "Commissioner Poul Nielson is said to be the most powerful man in the European Union, in charge of the millions of euro the continent hands out every year."

Energy and tuna

"The head of the European Commission delegation to the Pacific. Frans Baan, says Mr. Nielson will not only be launching new projects but also will be visiting previously funded EU projects in the region," correspondent Loga said.

"Mr. Nielson said that the new areas the EU would like to actively support in the Pacific Islands are the development of renewable energy resources and protection of the region's tuna fisheries in the west and central Pacific.

Radio Australia’s Loga also noted that "the University of the South Pacific recently received five million U.S. dollars from the EU to boost human resources development."

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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