ACP-EU Council of Ministers: Satisfactory outcome; Good compromise on EDF; Welcome to Somalia
Brussels, 7 June 2013/ ACP Press Release: The ACP Ministers who held with their EU partners a joint Council of Ministers in Brussels on 6-7 June are rather pleased with a compromise on the financial envelope of the 11th European Development Fund, and with a step made by the EU on the EPA. The ACP Group welcomes the approval of the request of Somalia for accession to the Cotonou Agreement.
Development Aid for 2014-2020
The ACP welcome the compromise on the amount of the 11th EDF which will have a financial allocation of 31.589 billion Euro.
Consensus on the “bridging facility” between the 10th and the 11th EDF. The funds of the 11 EDF will be available in more than one year after adoption of the revised Cotonou Agreementby EU and ACP countries. Until the entry into force of the 11th EDF, the balances of the 10th EDF and previous EDFs and from funds not used will be used. The Commission considered that funds should be accounted as an advance to the 11th EDF. The ACP side requested that the bridging facility be provided in addition to the 11th EDF. The consensus found is to delay the time of decision on this matter.
31.589 billion Euro will be available in the framework of the 11th EDF. This amount will be shared in grants (a, b and c) and loans (d) :
- 24.365 billion for national and regional indicative programs;
- 3.590 billion for intra-ACP and inter-regional cooperation, as wall as financing the joint institutions and bodies, and to assist with expenses for the running of the ACP Secretariat;
- 1.134 billion for the Investment Facility (European Investment Bank EIB);
- 2.500 billionloans from the own resources of the EIB
The ACP deeply regretted the European Parliament decision, on EU Commission’s request, to have ACP States removed from favourable EC market access if they have not signed and ratified their EPA by October 1st 2014. The statement of the EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Pielbags at the Council of Ministers, according to which the deadline concerns only thesignature ofinterim EPAs and not of full EPAsmay be seen as a sign of appeasement.
At the starting point of the debate on EPA, the ACP – co-president of the ACP-EU Council of Ministers, the Botswana’s Foreign Affairs Minister Hon. Phandu Skelemani had underlined the concerns of the countries of Cariforum, the only one to have signed an EPA, and other ACP States about the EU policy of differentiation, which might result in reduction of funds for countries with better achievementand thereby affect their capacity of implementation of the EPA. “The region is urging the EC to step up engagement on the remaining aspects of the negotiations which include a development cooperation chapter.”
The president of the ACP Council of Minister had also regretted the risk of division inside ACP regions between LDCs (beneficiaries of the Everything but Arms Facilities) and non-LDCs while “it is necessary for both … to move together and operate under the same regime with third parties, if successful regional integration is to be realized”.
Joint ACP-EU institutions “shall” be financed
Another disagreement between the two parties which was laid on the support to be ensured to the joint institutions of the Cotonou Agreement, namely the CDE (Centre for the Development of Enterprise) and the CTA (Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation) has found an consensus. In view of the amendment of an annex to the Cotonou Agreement concerning their financing, the EU side proposed that “this envelope may include…” such institutions with no precision on CDE and CTA instead of the formulation of the 10th EDF “this envelope shall include…CDE and CTA…”.The consensus is to keep “shall” but with no details related to CDE or CTA.
Dialogue on Migration and Remittances
Besides the EDF and EPA, the ministerial meeting had to tackle other divisive issues on which the two parties had relatively diverging positions or analysis, such as the political dialogue on migration, the repatriation of illegal immigrants and EU’s taxation policies on remittances sent by ACP citizen to their home countries. The two parties agreed to pursue the dialogue on this matters with the support of experts groups in view of reaching an agreement in a spirit of consensus.
Both ACP an EU warmly welcomed Somalia’s back to the ACP family after 20 years of disaster and war in this countries and a successful recovery some months ago. On February 2013, the Federal Republic of Somalia presented a request for observership and subsequent accession to the ACP-EU partnership. The joint Council has approved the request for accession and observer status.
(Photo: ACP Co-President Hon.Phandu Skelemani, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Botswana greets EU Commissioner for Development Mr Andris Piebalgs, with ACP Secretary General H.E Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni (middle)
– ACP Press