The 36th session of the Joint Ministerial Council ACP*-EU, co-presided by the Togolese Minister responsible for Planification, Development and Planning, Dédé Ahoefa Ekoué, and by the Hungarian foreign minister, Janos Martonyi concluded on Wednesday in Brussels.
This meeting helped making a point between the Africa-Caribbean-Pacific and the European Union and develop a roadmap to move forward on key issues such as migration and development, financing the EU after 10 EDF and EPAs.
The Council of Ministers expressed satisfaction on the ACP support by the EU in a difficult international economic context.
"The ACP is a very important platform composed of a hundred countries. The first agreement was signed in Lomé, and it is quite symbolic that the Council is co-presided by Togo today," said Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary.
During the session, the ministers also laid the groundwork for the forthcoming accession of a new member, namely Southern Sudan, which became officially independent on 9 July. A streamlined process of accession has been retained to allow a faster granting of aid to the country .
* ACP : African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States
The 36th Session of the ACP-EU Council of Ministers ended with both parties renewed their commitment to fight against the eradication of poverty in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states.
Secretary-General of the ACP Group Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas said the meeting was a success and it was an opportunity for the ACP Ministers to exchange views on pertinent issues under the Cotonou Partnership Agreement.
ACP and EU ministers discussed the ongoing ACP-EU dialogue on migration in which they agreed to reach concrete results to strengthen the operational cooperation in the areas of visa, remittances and re-admission over the coming year.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, ACP Secretary-General Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas said that migration is an issue for both parties given the geographical location of Europe and Africa.
On trade, ACP and EU ministers exchanged views on the current state of play of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) in the five regions of the ACP that are still negotiating the EPAs. So far only the Caribbean had signed a full EPA.
The meeting also discussed the Millennium Development Goals Initiatives (MDGs) Mid-term reviews of the European Development Fund (EDF), regional and intra-ACP programmes and envelopes. Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas said one of the reasons the ACP remains attached to the European Development Fund is because of its predictability in providing the ACP Group with financial resources to combat poverty and poverty-related diseases in our countries and regions.
Meanwhile, the ACP and EU Ministers also decided to use a flexible procedure to adopt a decision on the possible request of South Sudan to accede to the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, once it becomes a sovereign state.
South Sudan is expected to declare its independence on 9 July 2011 and could then apply for membership of the agreement.