Pacific ACP Leaders express need to intensify negotiations of EPA with European Union
The Pacific ACP Leaders from the 14 Forum Island Countries and Timor Leste met in Nuku’alofa, Tonga, yesterday. The Prime Minister of Tonga, Hon. Feleti Sevele chaired the meeting.
The PACP Leaders considered the status of implementation of the Pacific Regional Indicative Programme and progress on the regional programming of the 10th European Development Fund covering the period 2008 – 2012.
They also discussed the progress of the negotiations for the EPA between the ACP States and the European Commission. This included the substantive issues to be considered by the Pacific ACP States in the negotiation and the way forward as recommended by the Pacific ACP Trade Ministers for the successful conclusion of the EPA negotiations.
They noted that a lot of progress has been made but there is a need to intensify the region’s exchange with the EU to sort out issues that still remain to be negotiated.
Of importance to the region was that both parties have agreed that it is not possible to conclude negotiations by December 2007, as initially perceived, and that an Interim Arrangement would be in place until a more comprehensive EPA comes into force. The Pacific ACP Leaders released a Statement on the EPA negotiations and endorsed PACP-EC Declaration on Development Cooperation which will be submitted during the dialogue with the EU on Friday 19th October in Nuku’alofa.
The meeting also noted the good performance of the region in the implementation of the Pacific Regional Indicative Programme (PRIP) under the 8th and 9th EDF. There are currently 17 projects that are in various stages of implementation worth a total of 75.4 million Euros.
The PACP Leaders acknowledged that while there has been some progress, the programming of the 10th EDF is very much linked to the EPA negotiations.
Mr Stefano Manservisi, Director General for Development of the European Commission addressed the meeting.