17 Oct 2013

EU dismisses Fiji claims about lack of training consultations

7:10 am on 17 October 2013

The European Union has dismissed Fiji's accusations that it failed to consult about a training programme the EU and Australia are funding for the Fiji sugar industry.

The Fiji regime has issued a statement to express grave concern over what it describes as an irregular approach by allocating 5.4 million US dollars to the Australia Pacific Technical College.

It says the EU and Australia have snubbed Fiji and the funding should have been channeled through the Fiji National University.

The European Commission's deputy director general for development co-operation, Marcus Cornaro, says it has been in talks with the sugar ministry, which is led by Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

"This has not come out of the blue. We've prepared this over the past six to eight months, including in meetings with the Ministry of Sugar and other related stakeholders and secondly it builds on an ongoing co-operation with the Fiji sugar company."

The European Commission's Marcus Cornaro.