FSM suggests withdrawing from post-Cotonou negotiations with the EU

Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) president Peter Christian is suggesting the Pacific withdraw from the negotiations and focus its attention on renewing trade and economic ties with the Caribbean group, who share many commonalities with the Pacific. Picture: RNZ

YAREN, 04 SEPTEMBER 2018 (PACNEWS) – One Pacific ACP Leader has spoken out against preparations for negotiation for the post-Cotonou Agreement with the European Union (EU), which gets underway next month.

As Pacific ACP Leaders endorse Pacific priorities for the negotiations in Nauru Monday, the President of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Peter Christian is suggesting the Pacific withdraw from the

negotiations and focus its attention on renewing trade and economic ties with the Caribbean group, who share many commonalities with the Pacific.

“Africa is the main focus of the European development aid and a lot of resources is channelled towards the African continent. The Pacific and the Caribbean get a small percentage of the total aid budget for the ACP regions, the FSM President told journalists after the PACP Leaders meeting on Monday.

PACP Leaders were informed Monday of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) proposal for a Central Negotiating Group meeting at a Ministerial level on 23 September 2018 in New York. The Pacific ministerial lead negotiators will be from Samoa and Papua New Guinea and will be assisted by Pacific Ambassadors based in Brussels.

In addition, a Pacific Islands Representative will be appointed to support the PACPs in advancing the region’s collective agenda in the post-Cotonou negotiations and support PACPS engagement in relevant ACP-EU initiatives.

PACNEWS understands Forum Secretariat’s Trade Policy Adviser, Shiu Raj will take up his new appointment at the end of the month and will be based at the Papua New Guinea Embassy in Brussels. The European Union is co-funding the position.

PACP Leaders have also directed the Secretariat to seek additional resources from the EU to support effective representation in Brussels and Geneva.

In Nauru, Leaders endorsed Pacific priorities for post-Cotonou negotiations. These are ocean governance through the Blue Pacific identity; safeguarding the region’s resources and security; elevating the Blue and Green Economy; commitment to addressing climate change and disaster resilience; developing micro-small-medium enterprises; and supporting youth and vulnerable groups.

In terms of trade and development cooperation, Leaders agreed that the focus be on Aid for Trade and the need to develop Pacific-specific narratives on fisheries, trade in services, investment, industrialisation (through value addition and supply chains), e-commerce, digital economy, cultural industries, gender, youth, labour mobility, and rural development, including informal sector, given that these areas represent promising future for the PACP States’ engagement with the African, Caribbean and the European regions.

Leaders directed the Secretariat to further consult, coordinate and articulate the region’s negotiating priorities with the PACPS, Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP) agencies, private sector and civil society.

They also directed the Secretariat to provide regular updates to the PACPS on the post-Cotonou negotiations, and strengthen its PACP communication channels to ensure all relevant stakeholders receive information relating to all aspects of the post-Cotonou negotiation process in a timely and effective manner.

They urged the EU to ensure requisite regional resources under the 11th European Development Fund is allocated towards effective PACP engagement in the post-Cotonou negotiations.

The African, Caribbean and Pacific – European Union (ACP-EU) Partnership Agreement signed in Cotonou in 2000 expires in 2020.

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