Meeting of Senior Officials ACP House – Brussels, 11 April 2011 Excellencies, Senior Officials, Representatives of Regional Organisations, Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish to welcome you to this 9th meeting of Senior Officials in charge of development financing issues. I would also like to extend a warm welcome to all the delegations participating in this session. The ACP countries continue to demonstrate their unfailing commitment to combat poverty. In that regard, it is a commitment that they naturally share with the EU in considering the fight against poverty as an important aspect of the partnership. In the face of various challenges, it is essential that we, as partners, invest the very notion of partnership with concrete and real meaning by ensuring that it is grounded in shared objectives as well as mutually shared responsibilities, for results. It is only on that basis that each of the parties will be able to ascertain the importance of its commitments, which entail rights, as well as duties, which should be subject to joint, periodic assessment. We must steadfastly continue to simplify the rules governing our partnership so as to adapt them, in a flexible and responsive manner, to changing circumstances and needs. This meeting is taking place just a few months after the conclusion of the negotiations on the Second Revision of the Cotonou Agreement, and more particularly on the rules and procedures of financial cooperation, which are one of the prerogatives of the ACP-EU Ministerial Committee on Development Finance Cooperation. The negotiations provided an opportunity to reaffirm several fundamental principles that underpin our development partnership, notable among them the principle of co-management, which you exemplify in your role and responsibilities as EDF implementing agents. Equally noteworthy is the fact that certain provisions have been clarified, and intra-ACP programming has been incorporated into the text, thereby giving it greater visibility and allowing for better monitoring of implementation. Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to mention the creation of several new regional “B” envelopes to cover new needs, particularly in the area of humanitarian aid. That said, the amount of funds available under the 11th EDF has not yet been made known to the ACP Group, despite assurances given by the European side regarding its willingness to make adequate resources available. This situation—an unusual one in ACP relations—has resulted in the ACP Group signing, for the second time, an Agreement without its financial protocol. Through the EDF performance review process that is currently underway, it should be possible, in accordance with paragraph 7 of Annexe 1b, to arrive at an estimate that will help to inform a decision on the amount that will be allocated to financial cooperation after 2013. Ladies and Gentlemen, In this time of uncertainty, I am sure that you will rise up to the occasion by preparing, during your two days of deliberations, a detailed report for consideration by our honourable ministers during the 9th ministerial meeting. We hope, and we are persuaded, that their deliberations will serve to strengthen the determination that exists, on both the European and the ACP sides, to pursue and deepen the privileged relationship that we all cherish. It will demonstrate to the rest of the world that, despite the irreversible challenges of globalisation, there is still a place for a true ACP-EU partnership capable of making a contribution and providing a concrete and effective response to the objectives of lasting peace, security and poverty eradication. I wish you every success in your deliberations. Thank you for your attention.