Brussels, 16 October 2017/ ACP: The Secretary General of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States H.E. Dr. Patrick I. Gomes met with the President of the Togolese Republic H.E. Mr. Faure Gnassingbé on Monday 16th October, to lay the groundwork for preparations towards the forthcoming 107th session of the ACP Council of Ministers and 43rdsession of the ACP-EU Joint Council.

The Togolese Republic has offered to host this major events, tentatively scheduled for mid-2018. The ACP Council of Ministers is the main decision-making organ of the Group under the Summit of Heads of State and Government. In the ACP-EU partnership framework, the Joint Council of Ministers is the highest organ. The decisions taken at these meetings will touch on major development issues of concern to both ACP and EU countries, and will have significant bearing on the work of the ACP Group moving forward.

At the request from the Togolese President, the Secretary General also provided an update of developments in preparations for the forthcoming negotiations with the European Union for a new partnership agreement with the ACP Group of States after 2020. This includes the definite intention of the 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific states to negotiate as one group, with a renewed impetus of being an effective global player contributing to the sustainable development of its member countries, as well as the international agenda for development.

He informed the President of the three key pillars that will guide the focus of the ACP Group in negotiations (as outlined in the policy framework document ‘Towards the ACP we want’), as well as the establishment of a Central Negotiating Group and Technical Negotiating Teams made up of regional representatives. Negotiations with the EU are set to begin by August 2018, at least 18 months before the current ACP-EU Cotonou Partnership Agreement expires in 2020.

During the meeting, President Gnassingbé, who is also the President-in-Office of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), called for a stronger political role of the ACP Group under the new Agreement, especially in terms of providing support to member states in the various political dialogue processes with the EU. The importance of human rights, cultural values, sovereignty and robust financing for the ACP Group were also discussed.

President Gnassingbé noted the significance of a post-2020 renewed partnership with Europe, and emphasised the call for the ACP states to remain united as one group.

The ACP delegation, including the ACP Secretary General accompanied by ACP expert in Political Dialogue and Regional and International Institutions Ms. Doreen Walsweer-Sore, also met with the Prime Minister H.E. Dr. Komi Sélom Klassou during their mission.

Dr. Klassou, a former member of the ACP and ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assemblies called for a stronger role for Members of Parliament in a post-2020 agreement with the EU.

(Photos from top: ACP Secretary General with the President of the Togolese Republic H.E. Faure Gnassingbé; ACP Secretary General with the Prime Minister of Togo H.E. Dr. Komi Klassou)

– ACP Press