Central African Republic: ACP-EU Assembly calls on UN to beef up peace-keeping efforts
The UN Security Council must authorise a UN peace-keeping mission to the Central African Republic (CAR), said MEPs and MPs from the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) in Strasbourg on 19 March. They asked EU countries states to speed up preparations for the EUFOR CAR mission and pointed to the urgent need to restore social and health services and reopen schools in the country.
The international community must spare no effort in the fields of security, humanitarian aid, establishment of the rule of law and the economic recovery of the CAR, the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) said. It called on all political forces in the country to help bring about peace and economic recovery. Members backed the holding of parliamentary and presidential elections in February 2015 and suggested establishing a truth and reconciliation commission.
The JPA's 27th session was marked by sharp clashes between ACP members and MEPs over the recent law against homosexuals in Uganda in the debate on the fight against AIDS. Members also discussed education and vocational training in ACP countries, the state of play in the WTO negotiations, renewable energies and climate change.
The Assembly passed resolutions on Wednesday on the Central African Republic;the rights of migrants in ACP and EU countries; regional integration and the modernisation of customs regimes; mining on the seabed; and terrorism and the Internet.
Rights of migrants
Well-managed legal migration can benefit both EU and ACP countries, members said, stressing that a more coordinated approach to the management of migration should ensure full respect for the human, social and economic rights of migrants. The JPA also calls for stronger partnerships and shared responsibility between countries of origin, transit and destination and the active combating of xenophobia and xenophobic violence against migrants.
The urgent resolution was passed unanimously.
Modernisation of customs regimes
The Assembly called for the modernisation of customs regimes and a stronger regulatory framework, with ACP customs authorities given more powers so as to facilitate regional integration and trade and boost the fight against trafficking and crime. The JPA recognises that customs duties are an important source of revenue for the public budgets of ACP countries but stresses that they should not be the sole source of revenue. Members pointed to the need to strengthen tax collection and to the introduction of VAT as an alternative source of revenue.
The resolution was passed unanimously. Rapporteurs Piet Van Der Valt (Namibia) and Oldřich Vlasák (ECR, CZ).
Mining on the seabed
ACP countries must put their rich mineral resources at the centre of their development strategy for the benefit of the whole population, the JPA said. It called on them to boost the legal framework governing the seabed mineral resources industry, deploy experts when negotiating contracts for seabed mining and ensure that licences are issued in a transparent, competitive and non-discretionary way. Members also say that the licences must include legally-binding provisions on social and environmental standards.
The resolution was passed unanimously. Rapporteurs Joe Koim Komun (Papuya New Guinea) and Christa Klass (EPP, DE).
Global spread of terrorism: the role of the internet and social media
MEPs and their ACP counterparts stress that while the internet and social media are used for the purposes of terrorism, they can also be used to combat its spread. They call on ACP and EU countries to boost their counter-terrorism cooperation and underscore that counter-terrorism can only be effective if human rights are respected. ACP and EU states should also establish democratic and transparent procedures allowing websites used for terrorist purposes to be closed down swiftly. They also want them to focus on prevention and information to ensure that the internet is used safely and responsibly.
The resolution was passed unanimously. Rapporteurs Moses Y. Kollie (Liberia) and Zita Gurmai (S&D, HU).
Statement by Co-presidents on AIDS
Louis Michel (ALDE, BE) and Fitz Jackson, ACP-EU JPA Co-Presidents, also issued a declaration on "Ending AIDS in the post-2015 agenda."
Next meeting in Vanuatu
The 28th session of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly will be held in Port Vila, Vanuatu (Pacific) from 1 to 3 December 2014. It will be preceded by meetings of the three standing committees and the Bureau on 29 and 30 November 2014.