Brussels, 10 December 2013/ ACP: The Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Samoa has urged the European Union (EU) to work more closely with the ACP Group to identify “real needs and priorities”, while programming more than EUR 30 billion in aid for 2014-2020.
“The accumulated experience of the last half-century… makes it abundantly clear that ownership is a key ingredient of successful economic partnership for development,” he told officials from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific while chairing the 98th session of the ACP Council of Ministers in Brussels.
He also pushed for streamlining the project cycle of the multi-year aid package for ACP countries, known as the European Development Fund (EDF), to be “less cumbersome”.
While he expressed deep gratitude for the roughly EUR 31.5 billion committed by the EU under the 11th EDF cycle – despite drastic cuts in public finances – Prime Minister Tuilaepa also underlined the need to “shift focus of reflections and engagements away from primarily ‘money centred’ discussions.”
He opposed the “donor-recipient mentality”, stating instead that discussions should be more political, focusing on strategic global issues such as energy, climate change, democracy and the rule of law, good governance, investments, and the post-2015 development agenda, adding:
“It is vital that we work together with our European partners in identifying areas where there are major difficulties and suggest ways by which aid resources can more quickly and more effectively reach those sectors that need them the most.”
Slow ratification of ACP-EU partnership 2nd revision
The ACP countries have been in partnership agreements with the EU since 1963, soon after the creation of the European Economic Community. The most recent, known as the ACP-EU Cotonou Agreement was signed in 2000 and revised in 2005 and 2010.
So far, 56 ACP countries have ratified the 2010 version, fulfilling the two thirds requirement of ACP membership for the treaty to come into force. All 28 members of the EU, plus the European Commission, must also ratify. Only 20 EU members have done so to date.
The Prime Minister, as Chair of Council, urged all partners to “keep in the spirit of the ACP-EU partnership” and complete the ratification process, as it is already due time to look at the Third Revision in 2015.
Deliberations of the ACP Council of Ministers take place on the 10th and 11th of December, covering key institutional matters including budget issues, yearly work programme and the long-term future prospects for the organisation; trade matters including Economic Partnership Agreements and commodities; and development finance cooperation, particularly the programming of the 11th EDF.
– ACP Press
ACP Council of Ministers 2013 December