Talks on Pacific-EU relations in Samoa next month


A group of high-level advisors of the African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) Group will be visiting the Pacific next month. <!--more-->The advisors, forming the Eminent Persons Group (EPG), is in the process of holding series of regional talks in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific to gather views on the future outlooks of the ACP Group and its relations with the European Union. The EPG announced that their first stakeholder meeting would take place in Apia, Samoa on October 17-18.

The 12-member EPG was created to help guide the ACP Group in repositioning itself as a more robust and effective global player as it approaches the post-2015 development era. The final review of the Cotonou Agreement is also due in 2015, before its expiry in 2020. The ACP is the largest trans-regional intergovernmental grouping in the world with 79 member countries.

The EU-ACP relationship has a significant bearing on trade and economic ties between the 79 countries and the member nations of the European Community. Special arrangements include tariff reliefs, concessions and quotas – all of which will come under review as the term of the Cotonou Agreement comes to a close. This could have significant repercussions on the economies of small nations like those of the Pacific.

Former President of Nigeria and EPG Chairman Chief Obasanjo says, “The EPG was set up to start looking at what sort of treaty or agreement [could be forged] after the ACP-EU Cotonou Agreement comes to an end in 2020. It’s necessary that we start thinking about what should be the successor agreement because over the life of the partnership between ACP and the EU, a lot has changed.”

He said the EPG’s work would compile views from both a variety of both ACP and EU actors, including government officials, members of parliament, civil society, and the private sector.

Following the Pacific region, the EPG consultations are scheduled for the Caribbean in Grenada on 1-2 November, before continuing to the four major African regions (Eastern, Western, Central, Southern) next year. The EPG will submit a final report to ACP Heads of State and Government in December 2014.