ACP calls for unity as negotiations continue with Europe


ACP calls for unity as negotiations continue with Europe

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

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BRUSSELS, Belgium (CMC) — Secretary General of the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group Dr Patrick I Gomes says the 79-member grouping must continue to show unity and be strong if it wants a successful outcome to the negotiations for a new agreement to replace the Cotonou Agreement that expires in 2020.

In May, the European Union said a new accord to replace the Cotonou Agreement that currently governs its relationship with the ACP Group is “taking shape”.

The Cotonou Agreement was signed in June 2000 in Cotonou, Benin's largest city. It came into force in 2003 and was subsequently revised in 2005 and 2010.

It is regarded as the most comprehensive partnership agreement between developing countries and the EU, and in 2010 ACP-EU cooperation has been adapted to new challenges such as climate change, food security, regional integration, state fragility, and aid effectiveness.

Earlier this week Jamaica-based writer, Elizabeth Morgan, who writes for the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC), and is a specialist in international trade policy and international politics, said that it was important for the ACP to maintain its unity, discussed the slow pace of the negotiations.

“While the EU and Britain have been engrossed in selecting new political leadership, in Brussels, African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) and EU senior officials were continuing the post-Cotonou negotiations as expected. Reports indicated that steady progress was being made on the ACP/EU foundation agreement. There are, however, only about three settled areas. Inclusive sustainable economic growth and development and migration and mobility are sensitive areas now being negotiated,” she wrote.

Morgan said that negotiations have still not commenced in several areas including the important one of development support.

“The EU wants to change the donor/recipient relationship to one of partners. The union's new long-term budget for 2021-2027, not yet approved, is critical to these discussions. They are still expecting the budget to be approved by the European Council in October or December 2019.”

Morgan said she was also of the opinion that the Caribbean “is concerned about the slow pace of the negotiations. I believe that they have been affected by the political transition in the EU. In addition, the Caribbean may also be concerned that the EU is according less priority to their issues as its focus is on Africa.”

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