European Union committed to the Pacific –Neven Mimica

EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica. Picture: SAMOA OBSERVER

APIA, 28 FEBRUARY 2019 (SAMOA OBSERVER) – The European Union (EU) is committed to maintaining the unique partnership that exists with the Pacific ACP group of states post-2020.

So, says EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica.

The Commissioner, who was present at the Pacific ACP –EU high level political dialogue on the post-Cotonou agreement Tuesday, said the input and outcome from the dialogue will assist the ACP central negotiating group to wrap up the post-Cotonou framework.

The dialogue provided a platform for leaders from the Pacific to exchange views on issues of priority and concerns to the region, which will help the negotiations in the formulation of a new treaty with the EU when the Cotonou agreement ends in 2020.

“For the EU, the main goal of a future post-Cotonou arrangement is to preserve, to strengthen the unique role, the unique partnership, negotiating partner role of the ACP group of countries,” he said.

“Keeping, preserving the integrity of the ACP Group, for us, is to be reflective and to be strengthened by our future post-Cotonou agreement.”

“We (EU) would like our future agreement to be based on the common foundation of our contractual relations, but also to strengthen the regional components of the Pacific Caribbean pillars of our cooperation.”

Mimica said this approach with the regional protocols and pillars will not fragment the ACP group but “is an attempt to give flesh and muscles to the bone and skeleton of our true partnership with ACP countries.

“This is about strengthening and focusing on the more concrete and more specific regional interests, priorities, challenges that are to be translated into very political and contextual text of the future agreement.”

ACP lead negotiator, Professor Robert Dussey said within the post-Cotonou, there will be possibly three specific partnerships linking each ACP region with the European Union.

“The other important innovation in the current negotiation lies in the latitude for each of the ACP regions to take charge of the negotiations on its pillar,” Professor Dussey said.

“On the current negotiation, the ACP countries have adopted the principle of decentralisation of distribution of responsibilities, in order to bring the process in line with the regional and continental research for development.”

He added the negotiation files a conclusion of a new economic, political and strategic partnership agreement between the ACP groups and the EU.

Meanwhile, Pacific-African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) leaders are hoping relations with the European Union (EU) will continue to grow stronger with the negotiations for a post-Cotonou agreement.

Leaders had the opportunity to exchange their views on issues of priority and concern to the Pacific region in the presence of EU Commissioner, Neven Mimica, on how to maintain and strengthen further EU-Pacific relations post-2020.

“Whilst the focus on implementation and trade is seen as a logical extension of evolving common interests between our two groups, now is an opportune moment to take stock, reveal and seriously explore how Pacific-EU relations might be progressed and elevated to the next level,” Prime Minister Tuilaepa.

“It is of critical importance for both parties therefore as we enter the second phase of the ACP-EU negotiations for a post-2020 treaty, that we be guided by the principles and values, totally agreeing to in the foundation agreement on how to broaden and keep it Pacific-EU relations.”

Nauru’s President, Baron Divavesi Waqa, said EU-Pacific relations has been an evolving partnership, underpinned by common areas of strategic interest including development cooperation, climate change, ocean management, regional fisheries etc.

“At the forefront of our minds, the principles, the objectives of the framework of Pacific regionalism wherein Pacific leaders want to see a future for the Blue Pacific that is determined by its people, we want development to be more effective, more sustainable and resilient and importantly to deliver more for our people,” Waqa said.

“The high-level dialogue gives a platform to articulate the Pacific priorities that we would want to see in any regional protocol for PACPS in the post-Cotonou framework.”

“We therefore call on the EU, and other development partners to align their support with these strategies and requisite regional governance, and financing arrangements to implement them.”

The ACP-EU partnership is a 20-year agreement that was signed in Cotonou in 2000. Negotiations have already begun on a post-Cotonou agreement.

More Stories