ACP-EU economic partnership agreements should favour ACPs assymetrically, says Joint Parliamentary Assembly

Pressmeddelande   •   Nov 24, 2006 16:19 CET

The ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly expressed concern about the EU's current proposals on free trade with ACP countries in the context of the Cotonou economic partnership agreements. This meeting, which ended on 23 November, also rejected a draft joint resolution on conflicts in East Africa.

The JPA, composed of 78 representatives of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states and 78 MEPs, closed its meeting in Barbados on 23 November, the 40th anniversary of Barbados's independence. The Assembly adopted an urgent resolution on the negotiation of EU-ACP economic partnership agreements (EPAs). These agreements, which aim inter alia to make World Trade Organisation rules compatible with the current system of EU preferences for ACP countries, must be concluded by 1 January 2008.

The JPA calls on the EU to take all steps necessary to ensure that the ACP countries' current exports to the European Union would not be interrupted, should negotiations not be completed by 1 January 2008, when the WTO waiver for ACP countries expires.

East Africa resolution rejected

In a secret ballot, the Assembly rejected a resolution on East Africa (Eritrea, Ethiopia, Uganda, Somalia and Sudan), condemning inter alia the attitude of the Sudanese authorities in Darfur and the human rights situation in Ethiopia. A very large majority of ACP delegates voted against this text.

At the press conference following the votes, ACP-EU Co-President Glenys Kinnock (PES, UK), and acting Co-President Eustache Apkovi (Benin) observed that what had prevented this resolution being approved was probably that it dealt with too many countries at once.

The Assembly also adopted three other reports, on small arms and light weapons in developing countries, on water as an essential resource for development and on the impact of tourism on ACP countries' development.

Finally, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown, speaking to the JPA on 21 November about UN reform, commented that the UN secretariat, in the form set up to tackle problems at the end of the second world war, is no longer suited to the challenges of the world today.

The next ACP-EU JPA meeting, to be chaired by Germany, will be held in Wiesbaden at the end of June 2007.

Ref.: 20061120IPR00066
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