PM's Malta Trip Strengthens Cook Islands Connections To Europe

Puna signs 2 agreements with Malta, current President of EU

By Rashneel Kumar 

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, Oct. 9, 2017) – Prime minister Henry Puna signed two major deals in his Malta trip last week.

The Cook Islands and Malta have formalised the establishment of diplomatic relations through a signing ceremony in Malta last week, in the margins of the European Union (EU) Oceans Conference.

Puna, who is also the country’s Foreign Affairs minister, signed the joint communique with Malta's Foreign minister, Carmelo Abela, providing a foundation for the two countries to explore further co-operation in the years ahead.

Malta is the current European Union president and has a strategic geographic position in the Mediterranean as a regional and international hub for investment, commerce, education, health, tourism and culture.

Maritime Cook Islands presently has a deputy registrar in Malta and possible areas of future coperation include waste management, maritime and financial services.

PM Puna also signed a financing agreement with the EU last week to support the Cook Islands’ sanitation sector.

Under this agreement, financed through the 11th European Development Fund, the EU will provide $2.2 million directly to the Cook Islands' budget to boost the implementation of the National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP) and the Sanitation Policy over the next four years.

The budget support programme will support the Cook Islands to implement Agenda 2030. It contributes to the progressive achievement of SDG 6 “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.”

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