15 Aug 2006

EU accuses Fiji of disrespect over bridge naming

5:43 pm on 15 August 2006

The European Union has accused Fiji of showing disrespect to the EU by refusing to name the new bridge at Nausori the "Rewa - Europa Bridge."

The EU has funded the 13.6 million US dollar cost of the bridge while Fiji has paid for the approach works and land acquisition at a cost of 3.7 million dollars.

The first secretary communications at the EU Office in Suva, Florimnde Van de Velde, has told Radio Fiji that it is extremely disappointing that the Fiji government did not seriously consider their request for Europa to be included in the name of the bridge.

Fiji's foreign minister says it was only after a government committee decided to retain the name, REWA BRIDGE, that the European Union put in its submission.

But Mr Van de Velde says they had made at least 25 formal and informal submissions to seven government ministers including the prime minister in the last three years.

Mr Van de Velde says this clearly shows the government's lack of respect for the European Union.

But, he says, it will not affect European Union assistance towards Fiji.

The new bridge will be opened by President Iloilo on Thursday.