APIC: Africa: New Lome Talks,Tue, 13 Oct 1998

Africa: New Lome Talks,Tue, 13 Oct 1998

Africa: New Lome Talks Date distributed (ymd): 981013 Document reposted by APIC

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Region: Continent-Wide Issue Areas: +political/rights+ +economy/development+ +security/peace+ Summary Contents: This posting contains a statement from Eurostep (European Solidarity Towards Equal Participation of People, a coalition of European non-governmental organizations) on the recently launched negotiations for renewal of the Lome Agreement between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of developing countries. It also contains links to additional information on the negotiations. The next posting contains excerpts from the conference agenda of the European Network of Information and Action on Southern Africa Vienna Conference on European-Southern African cooperation in a globalising world.

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Eurostep 115 Rue Stevin, B-1000 Brussels, Belgium; Tel.: (32)-2-2311659 / Fax: (32)-2-2303780; E-mail:; Web:

The EU-ACP Negotiations:

Goals and Challenges for 2000

Executive Summary

[Full statement available at (in English) and (in French)]


A new era of European Union (EU) development co-operation is about to be embarked upon. By February 2000 a new agreement will define future political, trade and investment relations between Europe and African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. It will also help to define the future economic opportunities of many of the world's poorest people.

Eurostep believes there are a number of reasons to be optimistic about the outcome of the negotiations while there are also serious risks for people living in poverty. Concerted pressure from European and ACP civil society will be needed throughout the negotiation to ensure an agreement which is ambitious enough to tackle the enormous challenges to development, and which contributes fully to enhancing the livelihoods of poor people and reducing the risk of war.

In this paper, Eurostep sets out proposals for an agreement that would become a powerful instrument for the eradication of poverty through sustainable development and the balanced integration of ACP countries into the world economy.

Purpose of the Agreement

* The principle purpose of the next agreement should be to promote the eradication of poverty through sustainable development as set out in the international commitments made at Rio de Janeiro, Copenhagen, Beijing and Cairo. The achievement of the DAC/OECD development targets should be an instrument to focus effort and measure progress towards these international commitments.

* Europe and the ACP states should commit to a joint strategy to change those rules and policies of the World Trade Organisation and IMF which act to exclude poor and vulnerable economies and block international collaboration for achieving these objectives.

Partnership and Political Dialogue

* A political EU-ACP Inter-Governmental Assembly should be established. This joint EU-ACP political structure will have decision-making powers to set out the framework for the implementation and future negotiations around the agreement. Meeting on a regular basis it should be accessible to accredited observers.

* The Joint Parliamentary Assembly should be strengthened with greater capacity to monitor and influence the conceptualisation and implementation of the agreement.

* An information policy should be incorporated within the agreement that requires the European Commission and individual governments to publish proposals, assessments, evaluations and progress reports on all aspects of the agreement.

People's participation in defining their future

* Nationally agreed procedures for governmental agreements should be established which are accountable and transparent, and involve civil society and private sector.

* A complaints mechanism should be established to enable individuals and communities who are adversely affected by action under the agreement, the opportunity to receive an independent hearing, and to seek redress. A similar complaints mechanism should be established for parties suffering from incoherence of EU policy.

* Strengthen decentralised co-operation by its fuller incorporation into national and regional indicative programmes and establish round-tables between government, civil society and private sector to discuss national and regional priorities in all aspects of implementation.


There can be little rationale for coercing ACP states into WTO rules which block developmental trade agreements with the EU.

* The EU and ACP member states should explore an alternative to free trade agreements which would take the good elements of FTAs and marry them with other development considerations. These would be 'trade and investment development agreements' which would open the EU market to ACP products while also planning phased and partial liberalisation of ACP economies in sectors which would benefit from gradual exposure to international competition. This form of agreement would also allow long term protection of sectors such as agriculture where little, if any, justification exists for liberalisation. These would have to be incorporated into the WTO rules for regional trade agreements (Art. XXIV) as trade agreements between regions of highly different levels of development or elsewhere.

* The EU must offer a genuine alternative which guarantees that the EU will not increase its levels of protectionism towards ACP states. This could consist of an improved GSP offer, equivalent to Lome IV preferences and bound at the WTO.

* The EU should simplify its rules of origin for products from all ACP countries.

* The EU and ACP should act at the WTO to extend the current special and differential treatment for least developed countries to vulnerable single commodity dependent countries (mostly small island states).

* A ten year waiver should be sought from the WTO to allow adequate time for adjustment by ACP countries.

Investment Agreements

Special provisions are necessary for countries with limited foreign exchange reserves, large current account deficits and large gaps in technology and knowledge. With the new agreement provisions and investment should incorporate the best practice of developing countries at using investment for economic growth and poverty reduction. This would include:

* EU-ACP co-operation at the WTO to ensure that developing countries have the right to regulate inward investment to support domestic capacity through profit re-investment, technology transfer and local content requirements, skills training and balance of payments requirements.

* Technical assistance for competition policy and investment regulation and monitoring in poor countries to ensure corporations are accountable and comply with technical, social and environmental regulation, including tax and labour standards. This will help prevent responsible investors being undercut by less scrupulous investors.

* The EU-ACP should agree to investigate the potential for a code of conduct for European and ACP companies' extra-territorial action covering human rights, workers' rights, environmental protection, and corruption.

Trade and Investment Capacity

For pro-poor growth and enhanced competitiveness support is required in the following areas:

* Assisting progressive tax reform to maintain state capacity in the context of vanishing revenues from tariffs.

* Diversification to promote growth in value-added and labour-intensive industry.

* Investing in Human Capital.

* Balanced labour market reform.

* Sustainable rural development including land reform and measures to raise productivity in small-scale agriculture and strengthen linkages to processing.

* Integrated support to small and medium-sized enterprises which generate decent employment, particularly for women.

* Time-bound assistance to business associations to develop technical competencies.

* Support for fair trade products.

* Economic infrastructure for efficient transport, communications and energy.

Technology and Knowledge

In our informational age, access to technology is crucial to economic advancement and inclusion of ACP states.

* The EU can assist directly in transferring technologies which enhance employment creation, education and an efficient state administration, and could offer technical assistance to ACP governments regarding the inclusion of technology transfer and skills training in contracts with international corporations: something the East Asian governments have been assiduous in negotiating.

The next agreement should include a skills transfers programme to compliment efforts to get technology infrastructure established in ACP states, a programme of support for education in information technology including skills training, and tertiary education.

* The EU and ACP should co-operate at the WTO to call for a full review of Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs), and the impact of its increased cost of technology through extended patent protection, particularly to developing countries.

Social Development and Gender Mainstreaming

Programme quality and effectiveness must be improved in the next agreement by the following EU measures:

* A commitment to increase investment in health and education linked to the achievement of the international development targets. Specific allocations should be given to key social sectors, such as basic health and primary education, the recipient government should also be willing to contribute resources to this end. This should be negotiated within a single and consistent budgetary policy.

* Mainstream gender equity into political, economic and social aspects of the next agreement and enhance training in gender.

* A substantial package of support for the empowerment of women through improving literacy, access to primary education, basic health care and reproductive health care, preferably through programme aid. o The EU and the ACP need to increase their capacity in providing adequate expertise in social areas and in gender mainstreaming. o Mechanisms must be developed for EU policies to avoid major contradictions in programme aid policies through enhanced co-ordination.

Peace Building and Conflict Prevention

The next EU-ACP agreement could make a substantial contribution to conflict prevention and building stakes in peace by:

* Support for responsive and accountable government to avoid its collapse. This is a sensitive area but could include assistance in constitutional reform and minority rights where there is the active involvement of cross-communal civil society.

* Promote the active participation of ACP civil society and private sector in all aspects of regional and national programming. Of particular importance for conflict prevention are organisations of civil society which establish links across society, and promote representation, particularly of women, or promote human rights.

* Promote more inclusive patterns of development which encourage growth with equity, poverty reduction and conflict prevention. Alongside promoting growth with equity, the EU could establish floors of acceptable business practice for EU businesses operating in regions of conflict (usually in minerals, oil and lumber).

* EU member states must now implement their code of conduct on arms control agreed at the Heads of State Summit in June 1998, and take this approach forward to international fora in collaboration with ACP states.

* Promote regional integration based on creating political dialogue and economic integration at a pace which brings countries together through common interest.

* Mainstream conflict impact assessment in the work of DGVIII and the common service and enhance co-operation with ECHO.

Funding of the Agreement

* The EU should earmark a minimum percentage of its funds for Agenda 2000 to countries in the low human development category and those defined as vulnerable countries through single export dependency, and small populations.

* The EU and ACP should agree a level of resources adequate to make a significant and proportionate contribution to the achievement of international commitments on development. These should not merely be recycled moneys from previous EDFs.

* To speed up approval, authority must be delegated to field offices, procedures must be simplified, and adequate staff levels achieved.


Selected Additional Sources on European Union (EU) - African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries negotiations

European Union 20 Questions and Answers concerning the Lome Convention

Panos Institute EU Proposal Harms Some Developing Countries

SADC Food Security Programme Workshop on Expiry of Lome IV

Women in Development Europe (WIDE) The Lome Convention and Sustainable Human Development

Forum on Europe's International Cooperation (EUFORIC) The Future of Europe's Cooperation with the South

EUFORIC List of the 48 African Countries in the ACP Countries

European Centre for Development Policy Management Preparing a new Lome Convention


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