The negotiations between the European Union (EU) and the ACP countries on the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) are at a critical stage. European and ACP civil society organisations are deeply concerned about the impact of the proposed agreements on the economies, environment, regional integration initiatives
and livelihoods of the people in ACP countries.
European NGOs seized the opportunity presented by the EU-ACP Joint Ministerial Trade Committee (1 March) and the Informal Development Ministers Meeting (12 and 13 March) to stress their major concerns regarding the ongoing negotiations. In a letter, European NGOs call for the negotiations to be delayed in order to ensure that EPAs are good development tools.
It is imperative to take the time pressure off the negotiations in order to ensure that the results of the review process are thoroughly analysed. Singapore issues (investment, competition, transparency, government procurement and trade facilitation) should be omitted, as the ACP countries have repeatedly stated that they refuse to negotiate deals on these issues with the European Union. The EU should offer the ACP countries some alternatives to the EPAs, as envisaged in the Cotonou Agreement, and should uphold the principle of non-reciprocity and the right for developing countries to protect their economies. In addition, the EU should promote self-determination in the regional integration processes of ACP countries and ensure transparency and participation by civil society.
For more information: Marc Maes (firstname.lastname@example.org), Ester Asín Martínez (email@example.com)
Source: CONCORD Flash - February 2007.
See also Euforic dossier on ACP trade.