Brussels, 30 June 2020/OACPS: At a time when our world is facing unprecedented challenges, the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) congratulates the Federal Republic of Germany as it assumes the Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) for the 13th time since the signing of the Treaties of Rome in 1957. This makes it the only country which has held the mantle of leadership for the EU Council this many times. Without doubt, the 2020 German Presidency and the EU will benefit from the stable guidance of H.E. Mrs. Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor for the past 15 years.

As the world comes to grips with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, we, the 79-member strong OACPS, reaffirm our commitment to safeguarding the lives and livelihoods of the citizens of not only the Members of the OACPS, but globally. The OACPS agrees that we must use the lessons learnt from this pandemic to enhance the OACPS-EU partnership and emerge stronger together.

Recognising the need for solidarity and unity to address global challenges, we look forward to the finalisation of the ongoing negotiations for the Post-Cotonou Agreement in the same spirit of collegiality and mutual respect that has remained as the guiding principle of our OACPS-EU relations.

In the true sense of our partnership, we anticipate working with the German Presidency to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorism. To this end, we call on the EU to enter into dialogue following the unilateral publishing of a blacklist of third countries with strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism regimes, that pose significant threats to the EU’s financial system. This list includes ten Members of the OACPS, whose images have been tarnished and which are now at risk of having strengthened control measures applied to their financial flows. At a time when we are all experiencing the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, such actions can only serve to further weaken and destroy vulnerable economies.

In accordance with the pronouncement of Leaders during the first Extraordinary Inter-Sessional Summit of Heads of State and Government of the OACPS, held on 03 June 2020, the OACPS again calls on the G20 for the suspension of debt payments and the activation of the debt standstill mechanism provided for in Article VIII, Section 2 of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Agreement.

The OACPS aims to work with the German Presidency to further the “New Mobility Approach”, and supports a Multi-Annual Financial Framework that reflects our “new normal”. We embrace multilateralism as a means to collectively advance our regions and indicate our readiness to collaborate, later this year, in the African Union-European Union Summit with our largest constituent group, Africa.

To the outgoing Presidency, the Republic of Croatia, we extend our sincerest gratitude for your leadership in this difficult term, in which you have indeed defended “a strong Europe in a world of challenges”. In your maiden Presidency, during extremely trying times, you have presided efficaciously over the Council and brought us safely to the other side of the pandemic.