Brussels, 28 October 2013/ ECOWAS/ ACP: Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of the West African States (ECOWAS) reiterated their commitment to the conclusion of an “equitable and development-oriented” Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Europe, following an extraordinary meeting held at Dakar, Senegal on Friday.
In the meeting’s final communiqué, they commend the efforts being made by the two parties to the negotiations to identify areas of consensus and work towards compromise on persisting divergences. Leaders called for the flexibility and compromise of all issues of concern.
It noted the new market access scenario attained by the West African region and which take into account the required coherence with the Common External Tariff (CET) and development objectives envisaged in the EPA.
“On the basis of the new proposals, Authority directs the chief negotiators for West Africa to expeditiously resume discussions with their European partners with a view to concluding the regional agreement as soon as possible,” reads the communiqué.
The Summit further directed them to ensure that adequate financing is provided for an EPA development programme and fiscal adjustment costs in order to ensure balance with the market access offer. Summit also directs them to put services and free movement of persons on top of the priorities during the negotiations.
The Heads of State and Government designate H.E. Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal, to oversee the negotiations in the search for comprises that are mutually beneficial to the parties.
The ECOWAS Authority welcomed the spirit of cooperation between the Commissions of ECOWAS and UEMOA, which produced significant outcomes in the analysis of the various questions on the deepening of the economic integration process. It called for the strengthening of this cooperation in the implementation of decisions taken to that effect. The Authority further commended the Presidents of the two Commissions, the Ministers and all stakeholders for their substantial contributions to the results obtained.
The summit outcomes also included key decisions on regional integration, including and the approval of a single customs regime by 2015 and plans to eventually establish a common currency for the region.
Read the full communiqué