EU aid tools
The relations between the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states are a particularly important aspect of the EU development cooperation policy and, more widely, of its external action.
On 27 September 2002, the European Union and the ACP countries officially opened negotiations on Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) in Brussels. These negotiations, which are to take place over five years, are aimed at redefining the trade regime between the two groups of countries. They are conducted in two phases. The first phase is conducted at "All-ACP"-EU level and takes on board cross-cutting themes of interest to all parties concerned, mainly: legal matters, the development "dimension" of the EPAs, Agriculture and Fisheries agreements, services, market access and trade-related matters. The Second phase is conducted at ACP national and regional level with spotlight on specific commitments.
Six sub-regional groupings of the ACP have now entered into Phase 2 of the negotiations with the EU. The outcome of the negotiations will be a series of new Free Trade Agreements (FTA) replacing the Lomé system of preferential access to the European market for the ACP from 2008. The six sub-regions are:
- West Africa (Economic Community of West Africa ECOWAS + Mauritania);
- Central Africa (Communauté Economique et Monétaire de l'Afrique Centrale or CEMAC + São Tomé and Príncipe);
- Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA members); the Southern African Development Community (SADC: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland and Tanzania + South Africa as an observer);
- Caribbean or CARIFORUM (these include the 14 ACP members of the Caribbean Community and the Dominican Republic); and
- the Pacific.
The EPAs should serve as instruments of development that contribute to the promotion of gradual and smooth integration of the ACP states in world economy while respecting their political options and development priorities, promoting thereby their sustainable development and contributing to the eradication of poverty in the ACP states and not an end in themselves.
In this context, the European and ACP parties agreed that the EPAs contribute directly to the development of the ACP states while helping them to expand their markets and improving the predictability and transparency of the legal framework governing trade, creating thereby suitable conditions for investment growth and the mobilization of private sector initiatives in order to improve the supply capacity of the ACP States. To this end, the EPAs should take account of the economic, social, environmental and structural constraints specific to each ACP state and region concerned, as well as their capacity to adapt their economies to the EPA process. The EPAs should also take on board the development guidelines of the countries and regions concerned. Besides, they should be economically and socially sustainable.
The task facing the protagonists looks likely to be difficult given the many issues and respective interests to be addressed. These negotiations will take place in an international context characterised by increased liberalisation. Some consider that EPAs have the potential to offer the ACP countries good opportunities. Others foresee much soul-searching when it comes to ensuring an improvement over the former system in terms of development prospects for the ACP countries.
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In the context of the new financial framework 2007-2013 and as part of its efforts towards simplifying external actions instruments, the Council and the European parliament have adopted a package of six new instruments for the implementation of external assistance, among which are the 10th EDF and the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI).
At the beginning of 2007, for the first time, the African Union and the European Union have decided to develop a ‘Joint Strategy’ which reflects the needs and aspirations of the peoples of both Africa and Europe. The purpose of this joint strategy is to develop a common political vision for the future partnership between the EU and Africa, based on mutual respect, common interests and the principle of ownership. The joint Strategy should be adopted at the planned EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon, in late 2007. The new Strategic Partnership between the two continents will be developed in the framework of the positive development on the African continent since the first EU-Africa summit was held in Cairo in 2000 and in particular following the establishment of the African Union in 2002.
Various broad-based public debates were organised throughout the two continents that generated ideas and suggestions from a large diversity of state and non-state actors. The joint strategy that emerges from this process should therefore not just be a strategy for and by officials, but also one to which all stakeholders on both continents can relate, contribute and support in their own work.
For further information: http://africa-eu-partnership.org/au-eu/pages/te...
The strategy will bring the EU's relationship with the Pacific into line with the new EU development policy statement adopted by the EU institutions in December 2005 and with the revised Cotonou Agreement of 2005. It will also help put into practice the EU's commitments to aid effectiveness in the region.
The strategy consists of three components:
? stronger political relations on matters of common interest such as global political security, trade, economic and social development and the environment;
? more focused development action, with greater emphasis on regional cooperation to build up critical mass, enhance regional governance and facilitate mutual enrichment;
? more efficient aid delivery, including greater use of direct budget support and closer coordination with other partners, in particular Australia and New Zealand.
In March 2006, the European Commission adopted the Communication on the EU strategy for the Caribbean, which serves as the framework for EU - Caribbean relations at the political, economic and developmental level for the future and certainly for the lifetime of the Cotonou Agreement.
The communication builds on and integrates previous Commission documents, most notably the "MDG Package" and the "European Consensus", the European Union's new Development Policy.
The objective of the EU Communication on the Caribbean is to highlight how the challenges facing the Caribbean can be transformed into opportunities by focusing on the right "policy-mix". The EU's Caribbean strategy is articulated around a vision of the future based on a history of shared values, in parallel with full optimisation of the opportunities of the Cotonou Agreement. The EU's overarching development objective is to assist all the countries in the Caribbean region to achieve their long term development goals in a self sustaining manner.
On 15-16 December 2005 the European Council, gathering Heads of States and Governments, endorsed the ‘European Consensus on Development’. It is a joint statement by the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission. It provides, for the first time, a common vision that guides the action of the EU, both at its MemberStates and Community levels, in development co-operation. This common vision is the subject of the first part of the Statement; the second part sets out the European Community Development Policy to guide implementation of this vision at the Community level and further specifies priorities for concrete action at the Community level.
This “European Consensus” defines the new development policy of the European Union. The policy aims at reducing poverty in line with the Millennium Development Goals. The EU’s Development Policy will cover all developing countries, and for the first time in 50 years, this will be done within a single framework of principles for the 25 MemberStates and the Commission.
The 'Non-State Actors and Local Authority in Development' thematic programme is intended to be the successor of both the current NGO co-financing and decentralised cooperation programmes. It is “actor-oriented” instead of “sector-oriented”. It will support initiatives from civil society organisations, active in development and local authorities in order to promote participatory approaches to development. The programme will intervene in particular when geographical programmes are not the appropriate instrument and complement the support that other thematic programmes - in particular the programme on Democracy and Human Rights - can provide to the same actors.
For further information: http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/where/worldwide/c...
The European Development Fund (EDF) is the main instrument for Community aid for development cooperation in the ACP countries and the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT). Articles 131 and 136 of the 1957 Treaty of Rome provided for its creation with a view to granting technical and financial assistance to African countries that were still colonised at that time and with which certain countries had historical links.
Although, following a request by the European Parliament, a heading has been reserved for the Fund in the Community budget since 1993, the EDF does not come under the general Community budget. It is funded by the Member States, covered by its own financial rules and managed by a specific committee. The Member States set the EDF budget in the Council via agreements that are subsequently ratified by the national parliament of each MemberState. The European Commission and other institutions established under the partnership play a key role in the day-to-day management of the Fund. However, the aid allocated to OCTs will be integrated into the Community general budget from 1st January 2008 on, while the aid granted to the ACP countries will continue to be financed under the EDF (10th) at least for the period 2008-2013.