Brussels, 9 December 2015/ EP: Forty years of ACP-EU cooperation, migration, the post-election situation in Burundi, and COP21 were among the topics discussed by the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly at its 30th session, which closed on Wednesday, in Brussels.
The Assembly called for a post-Cotonou agreement to adapt the ACP-EU partnership, 40 years after it was first set up, to emerging global challenges, such as the current flows of migrants and asylum seekers. It recognised the vital importance of fostering dialogue and greater mutual understanding between EU and ACP states, in a resolution by its economic development, finance and trade committee.
Migration, human rights and humanitarian refugees
In the light of the ongoing, unprecedented humanitarian crisis, which led to the displacement of 60 million people in 2014, the Assembly highlighted the need for a joint EU-ACP approach to migration. The EU should continue its efforts to sustain development and democratisation in the countries of origin, said MEPs and their ACP counterparts, who stressed that the migration crises in both the EU and Africa could only really be tackled with a long-term approach addressing the root causes. The permanent resettlement mechanism should meanwhile be consolidated, they said.
COP21 and universal healthcare
In a debate on COP 21, MEPs and national parliamentarians from ACP countries showed optimism about the progress and outcome of the conference in Paris. They stressed the need for a legally binding and ambitious agreement and concrete steps to implement it. Funding is key to tackling the situation as no action to fight climate change could be taken without money, they said.
Ms Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organisation, opened the debate on universal health cover, stressing the need for access to healthcare for everyone. ACP MPs and MEPs pointed to equality as the guiding principle for ensuring universal health coverage, together with high-quality health services and financial-risk protection so that the cost of health care does not cause financial hardship.
Call for immediate halt to violence in Burundi
The Assembly passed a resolution calling for an immediate end to the violence, human rights violations and political intimidation of opponents in Burundi. It appealed to the Burundian authorities to ensure security in their territory, guarantee fundamental rights and freedoms and re-engage in an inclusive and transparent national dialogue. The EU and the international community must also urgently continue to assist the tens of thousands of Burundi refugees in the neighbouring countries, they stressed.
African Peace Facility: first results
The Assembly recognised that the African Peace Facility (APF), established in 2004 to allow the eight African regional economic communities to better manage conflicts without the intervention of foreign troops, had achieved important results so far in African-led peace support operations, in a resolution drawn up by the political affairs committee.
Statements by co-chairs
Co-presidents Louis Michel (ALDE, BE) and Fitz A. Jackson (Jamaica) issued five statements: on the COP21, banana accompanying measures, the future of ACP-EU relations, the impact of climate change on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and recent terrorist attacks. More information is available on the ACP-EU website.
Louis Michel announced the departure of Fitz A. Jackson as co-president of the ACP JPA. He will be replaced by Netty Baldeh from Gambia.
Next ACP-EU Parliamentary Assembly
The 31st Parliamentary Assembly is scheduled for 13-15 June 2016 and should take place in Central Africa (country still to be determined).
REF. : 20151209IPR06770
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