Minister, Jeremiah Manele, at the farewell reception acknowledged EU for its contribution in political dialogues, fisheries, rural development and water and sanitation projects since 2014.
Some of the achievements, Manele, mentioned were the political dialogue in 2016; furthering good relations with EU; deciding of the 11th National Indicative Programme to Solomon Islands in 2015; constant encouragement and guidance to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade and Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, addressing the Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU), enhancing the removal of Yellow card and EU projects.
Manele said the ministry cannot thanked him for his service and contribution in the last four years.
In reply, Leonidas said the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), where Solomon Islands participate is next door.
“EPA is an economic arrangement that eliminates barriers to the free movement of goods, services, and investment between countries.
“This agreement can be considered an intermediate step between free trade area and single market in the process of economic integration.”
He said the EPA is important for Solomon Island as it is facing graduation from LDC.
Moreover, the EU has pulled out and moves to Suva, Fiji as part of its regionalisation in the South Pacific.
However, Leonidas said EU will still keep its residence in Solomon Islands, as such it is not permanently leaving the country.
“EU want to concentrate in Fiji and PNG.
“I hope our establishment in Fiji is better for EU,” he added.