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Regional countries urged to voice disapproval over new EU policy
GEORGETOWN—Caribbean Community (Caricom) parliamentarians have been told they must adopt a strong position at the 9th Regional meeting of the African Caribbean and Pacific –European Union (ACP-EU) Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) against the EU’s approach to differentiation.
The meeting, which ends today, is taking place in the Dominican Republic. A statement from the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Implementation Unit said that the EU has indicated that it will apply the principle of differentiation to the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) National Indicative Programmes (NIPs), with the resultant effect that the majority of NIPs in the Caribbean region will be cut.
“Such action is regrettable,” the statement said, quoting Ivan Ogando Lora, the Director-General of the Caribbean Forum (Cariforum).
He said: “The European Union has been a valued, longstanding development partner. However, its stance on differentiation has prompted the Cariforum region to take a hard look at this partnership at a time when regional states are counting on reliable resources to implement the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and the Caribbean-EU Joint Strategy”.
Oganda Lora said that neither the EPA, which was signed in 2008 between Cariforum countries and the EU and the Caribbean-EU Joint Strategy make specific provisions for financial support.
He said the EDF, as the core source for financing development cooperation within the framework of Cariforum-EU relations, now faces the prospect of being scaled back and cautioned that the mechanics of the application of differentiation remain internal to the European Commission.
The statement said that Oganda is expected to address the meeting in the Dominican Republic and “will delve into various facets of the implementation of the EPA, with a particular focus on issues of note that the Cariforum and EU sides have engaged on through the Joint Institutions that oversee the implementation process”.
It said Ogando “will call attention to the negative effects of the EU’s New Development Policy, about which Caribbean leaders have already raised serious concerns”. Caribbean leaders recently voiced their concerns with respect to the new EU Development Policy, in discussions with the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and President of the European Commission José Manuel Durão Barroso in Chile last month.
Last December, St Lucia’s Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony described as “disquieting” the issues of differentiation and graduation, which he said “target the economic vitality and the future development of some vulnerable (ACP) member states.” Caricom Secretary General Irwin LaRocque has also expressed concern over the possibility of a decrease in development assistance from the EU under the new policy.
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