The ACP-EU Parliamentary Assembly was officially opened on Monday, 15th of March in Ljubljana, Slovenia and brought together 78 MEPs and 78 parliamentarians from the African, Caribbean and Pacific states having JPAs Co-Presidents Glenys Kinnock and Wilkie Rasmussen (Cook Islands) as key speakers. The Economic Partnership Agreements are on top of the agenda of the JPA.
On Monday the discussions were mainly focused on the negotiations of EPAs. Glenys Kinnock and Wilkie Rasmussen have expressed their concern about the tone and procedures around EPAs and have indicated that ACP countries feel too much pressure.
EP President Hans Gert Poettering has underlined the importance of a good working relationship between the two partners and said in a video message that “ACP-EU relations are not simply a treaty between states and the Community; they also constitute a union between peoples. (…).
The Assembly will also discuss and vote on three reports on Thursday, the 20th of March, namely ‘Social and environmental consequences of structural adjustment programmes’ (EN/ FR) , by Gay Mitchell (EPP-ED, IE) and Alma Oumarou (Niger), which calls on the World Bank and the IMF to refrain from economic policy conditionality in their lending, make their policies more country-specific, and focus on outcome-based, anti-poverty conditionality. Secondly the report on ‘Experiences from the European regional integration process relevant to ACP countries’ (EN/ FR) by Filip Kaczmarek (EPP-ED, PL) and Mr De Sousa (Angola), which calls on ACP countries to agree to exercise sovereignty jointly in areas where they have long-term common interests and cross-border problems, and advocates regional undertakings for joint exploration, regulation and control of natural resources. And finally ‘Food security issues in ACP countries and the role of ACP-EU co-operation’ (EN/ FR), by Alain Hutchinson (PES, BE) and Mohamed Ali (Ethiopia), which sayd that better managing water supplies, empowering women to manage food production, and banning the use of food plants in bio-fuels would all help to reduce food insecurity.