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EU agreement with African, Caribbean and Pacific countries at risk

No EP consent to Post-Cotonou without parliamentary dimension.

Ahead of a meeting to conclude negotiations on the new EU partnership agreement (Post-Cotonou) with African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP), the Chair of the Committee on Development, Tomas Tobé (EPP, SE) and Carlos Zorrinho (S&D, PT), Chair of Parliament's ACP Delegation, told the Commission that the current negotiation draft is not acceptable. The two Chairs warned that Parliament would not give its consent to the new Post-Cotonou agreement if greater parliamentary scrutiny and democratic control were not included.


"We are sending a clear message to the Commission: a parliamentary dimension with a real consultative role for the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) as well as at a regional level is a non-negotiable condition for the European Parliament in order to give its consent to a new Agreement", said (Tomas Tobé (EPP, Sweden), Chair of the Committee on Development.

"The Commission should come forward with a new text that incorporates a strengthened parliamentary dimension, with clearly identified functions and powers for the Joint Parliamentary Assembly, safeguarding its legal and operational autonomy", said Carlos Zorrinho (S&D, PT), Chair of the European Parliament ACP Delegation.

For the two Chairs, the current text falls far short of these conditions. Parliament cannot accept that this important instrument of the EU's external relations would undo the progress made over the last decades in terms of parliamentary scrutiny and parliamentary diplomacy. This position also has the backing of the ACP countries.

The consent of Parliament is required under EU law for the international agreement to come into effect.


Twenty years after its initial conclusion, the Cotonou Partnership Agreement between the EU and 78 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries should have expired in February 2020, but has been extended until December 2021 as negotiations on a successor Agreement have taken longer than planned. The ACP-EU framework is the most comprehensive partnership between the EU and third countries and a key foundation of EU development cooperation and external relations.

The European Parliament strongly supports a deepened and continued ACP-EU partnership that is legally binding and with joint institutions, including the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, while also supporting regionalisation in order to enhance the partnership with Africa. Parliament's position is outlined in three resolutions of 2019, 2018 and 2016.

Statement by the JPA Co-Presidents on Ethiopia

Statement by the JPA Co-Presidents, read out by Co-President Liuga in the JPA joint committee meeting on 5 November 2020

We have been closely following the events in Ethiopia over the last few days with growing concern, we note that these have sadly led to deaths and injuries of civilians. We call on the federal and regional governments in Ethiopia, as well as all of its neighbours, to abstain from further military deployment or threats and to engage in a sincere, peaceful and inclusive dialogue. The situation calls for action to ensure that it does not lead to possible destabilisation of Ethiopia and the wider region. We call on the regional organisations and international partners to mediate, encourage and facilitate the dialogue that is needed to promote widely backed and peaceful solutions for Ethiopia and its people. We align our remarks with the position expressed by the African Union, the European union and the United nations on this matter.

Statement of the Co-Presidents on maintaining Joint Assembly in future Agreement

Joint Statement of the Co-Presidents of the ACP - EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly on maintaining the Joint Assembly in the future Partnership Agreement.

The Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA), Mr Carlos Zorrinho, MEP and Mr Faumuina Liuga, MP of Samoa, welcome the progress made so far by the chief negotiators on post-Cotonou negotiations. They take note that efforts are underway to conclude these negotiations and remain optimistic that the proposed new agreement will contribute to meeting the aspirations of the people of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific and EU citizens.

The Co-Presidents of the JPA recall the critical role played by the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in advancing the democratic ideals of the Partnership, improving accountability, consolidating parliamentary diplomacy and facilitating joint action and to build effective coalitions in international fora.

In this regard, the Co-Presidents welcome the support given by the German Presidency of the Council of the EU for maintaining the Joint Parliamentary Assembly in the post- Cotonou Agreement. They recall that an ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, as part of the institutional framework of the future agreement, is foreseen in the negotiating mandate of the ACP states and defined as a "non-negotiable request in terms of the European Parliament giving its consent to the future agreement". They reiterate the need to ensure that this JPA should be organisationally autonomous, be supported by a strong co-secretariat and meet at regular intervals.

The Co-Presidents express their appreciation for the priority given by Germany to the forthcoming conclusion of the negotiations of a new agreement between the EU and the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, which will pave the way for the support of the agreement by the European Parliament and national parliaments.

Stop extremist violence in northern Mozambique

The Chair of the European Parliament Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, Carlos Zorrinho (S&D, PT) expresses his serious concerns over the continuously deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in the Northern Province of Mozambique, Cabo Delgado.

Violence has escalated, including reported killings. In the past three month, some 50.000 inhabitants of the province have been displaced. It seems that the extremist and militant Islamic group locally known as "Al Shabaab", whose goal is to establish an Islamist caliphate, is responsible for this alarming high level of violence.

In order to prevent further escalations, Carlos Zorrinho calls upon the Mozambican authorities to take effective and decisive action and to protect the citizens of Cabo Delgado. The main priority of the government must be to bring all those suspected of criminal responsibility to justice in fair trials. As a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Mozambique should exploit possible options for cross-border cooperation. SADC's organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation (OPDS), with a multinational fighting unit for tackling serious counter-insurgency situations, could be an important element for managing and condemning this conflict in the short term.

In the long term, an integrated and coordinated approach will be necessary. This includes the promotion of democracy, human rights, effective local governance and the effective restoration of the rule of law.

Carlos Zorrinho insists that socio-economic conditions fostering instability and violent extremism need to be addressed as well. He stresses that the European Union is ready to support Mozambique in the necessary economic and political governance reforms.


Since 2017, an Islamist group is responsible for violent attacks, killings and displacements of civilians in particular in the northern province Cabo Delgado of Mozambique. It commits coordinated and simultaneous attacks against civilians and government institutions. Hundreds of people have been killed since then, while according to UN sources more than 210.000, most of them women and children, have had to flee their homes.

ACP-EU Post-Cotonou: A Joint Parliamentary Assembly is non-negotiable

European Parliament insists that the future institutional framework must still include an ACP-EU joint parliamentary dimension.

The negotiations on a new partnership agreement between the European Union and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries are entering the final stages. In line with the Sustainable Development Goals, the new agreement should be people-focused and this requires a strengthened parliamentary dimension with the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) at its centre, say Tomas Tobé (EPP, SE), Chair of the European Parliament's Committee on Development, and the two JPA Co-Presidents Carlos Zorrinho (S&D, PT) and Faumuina Liuga (Samoa).

They stress that both the ACP negotiating mandate and the European Parliament position on the future agreement underline the essential role to be played by the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly. The resolution adopted in November 2019 by the European Parliament stresses that the institutional framework should include an ACP-EU JPA and clearly states that that this is "non-negotiable in terms of the European Parliament giving its consent to the future agreement".

They underline that the relations between the ACP countries and the European Union are strong and play a fundamental role in the multilateral global system and in advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. A new partnership agreement must address common challenges and be inclusive. A government-only driven partnership would not represent the interests of the ACP and European peoples affected by the agreement. It would be a step backwards in the ACP-EU relations and lack essential parliamentary scrutiny. It would send the wrong message that parliaments do not have a say on the future of the citizens and governments can just ignore them putting at risk the democratic accountability of the agreement and therefore the future of the ACP-EU partnership.

There are key global issues to be tackled in the new agreement, from climate change to migration, to promoting growth as well as human rights, peace and stability, some of which still require intense negotiations between the two parties. A strengthened involvement of the parliaments is crucial, as democratic oversight is more needed than ever in order to build a strong and balanced partnership.

Joint Statement of Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU JPA on urgent global actions C–19

Joint Statement of the Co-Presidents of the ACP - EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly on urgent global actions in response to Covid - 19 Pandemic

The Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, Mr Carlos Zorrinho and Mr Faumina Liuga, express their concern of the impact COVID-19 pandemic has to the socio - economic situation of the Members of the Organisation of African Caribbean and Pacific States.

They note that despite the fact that Members of the OACPS have valuable experience in containing outbreaks, and that most countries have already taken decisive action to mitigate the spread of the virus, ACP's emergency health response capacity must be enhanced by providing immediate support to its public health systems.

They acknowledge that the restrictive measures taken to limit and curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to a cessation of economic activities and a domino effect that has had a direct or indirect impact on populations, businesses, and public services. In this regard, they call for the mobilization of financial resources in order to revive economic growth, job opportunities and sustainable development. They urge for an immediate moratorium on all bilateral and multilateral debt payments, both public and private, until the pandemic has passed.

The Co-Presidents welcome the G20's decision to suspend debt payments and call for a deployment of a big-scale economic stimulus package to the Members of the OACPS in order to give them the fiscal space needed to devote more public health resources to fighting the virus, while mitigating its economic and social consequences.

In particular they urge the World Bank, the IMF, the African Development Bank, the New Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, Caribbean Development Bank and other regional institutions to use all available instruments and to revisit their loan access policies and quota limitations so that low income countries can fully benefit from their support. In order to provide additional liquidity for the procurement of basic commodities and essential medical supplies, they call on the IMF to decide immediately on the allocation of special drawing rights. They also ask that all of OACPS's development partners ring-fence their development aid budgets.

They also strongly support the 23 March UN Secretary-General's call for a global truce in the world's conflict zones in order to protect vulnerable civilians from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

Furthermore, they reiterate and support the UN Secretary-General's call for an ambitious humanitarian initiative for developing countries, based on the Covid-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan, to deliver vital food and logistical supplies to communities most affected by lockdowns, social distancing and high contamination rates, including refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons.

COVID-19: MEPs call for solidarity with developing countries

The African, Caribbean, Pacific Group of States and the European Union (ACP-EU) must work in solidarity to tackle the health and socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

In a joint statement, the Chairs of the European Parliament's Committee on Development, Tomas Tobé (EPP, SE), and of the Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, Carlos Zorrinho (S&D, PT) express their solidarity with the families of the victims and those affected by the coronavirus.

They call on the ACP Group of States and the European Union to prove their solidarity by working hand in hand to tackle the health and socio-economic impact of the crisis. As a global crisis requires a global response. Only by joining forces and cooperating across borders and continents will the virus be defeated and its consequences contained. The substantial extension of international cooperation among scientists, economists, policy-makers and humanitarian and development actors must continue to be one of the key measures.

They call on the European Union and its Member States to assist ACP countries, in particular those most impacted and those whose populations are the most vulnerable and whose economies and health systems are the most fragile.

Building urgent response capacity and suspending debt payments

As a first step, the EU should step up its humanitarian and development response in order to assist countries in tackling the immediate health challenges, notably in terms of strengthening preparedness and building urgent response capacity. In preparing its external response, the EU should also integrate the numerous lessons learned from the Ebola crisis.

The Chairs insist on the need to address the economic and social impact in partner countries. They also refer to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) call to suspend debt payments by poor countries with a GNI less than $ 1.175 per capita (IDA countries), if they make such a request, and call on the European Union and the G20 States to support this call

Finally, the Chairs call on the international community to work closely together to form a global response. In this context, they particularly welcome the USD 2 billion appeal for a United Nations Global Humanitarian Response Plan and call for substantial contributions from the EU and the ACP Group of States.

Chair’s statement: the situation in Guinea-Bissau

Statement by Carlos Zorrinho (S&D, PT), EU Co-President of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, on the current political situation in Guinea-Bissau.

"I would like to express my deep concern about the current political developments in Guinea-Bissau, where a new President recently took office in an unconstitutional manner, dismissed the legitimately elected government and appointed a new Prime Minister from a minority political party with only five Members of Parliament.

The latest events have provoked the military to re-enter the political process, which marks a significant worsening of the situation. This has been notably expressed in a statement by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on the matter on 28 February 2020.

I call for the constitution to be respected and for all necessary measures to be taken to ensure stability and peace. I also call on all actors to respect and promote democracy, respect the rule of law and not to take any actions that risk undermining them."

Declaration of the Co-Presidents on Post-Cotonou Negotiations during the 38th JPA

The Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) welcome the progress made so far in the negotiations on the strategic priorities of the future agreement and on the regional protocols. They take note that more time is needed to negotiate the remaining parts of the agreement and that the negotiations could not be finalised as originally anticipated by the end of October 2019.

The Co-Presidents of the JPA express their serious concern, however, with part of the EU negotiating mandate that seems to put into question the continued existence of the JPA and thereby weakens the parliamentary dimension of the ACP-EU partnership.

On the contrary, the Co-Presidents wish to emphasize the importance of enhancing the parliamentary dimension of the future agreement in order to ensure democratic accountability at all levels and to promote the legitimacy and visibility of the partnership.

They recall that the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly has a prominent role to play to ensure democratic oversight of the future agreement, provide for an open, frank and comprehensive parliamentary dialogue and to promote democracy and human rights.

The Co-Presidents therefore consider it fundamental for the new institutional framework to include a strengthened ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly. They welcome the position taken by the European Parliament Committee on Development that this is a non-negotiable condition for giving Parliament's consent to the future agreement.

The Co-Presidents consider that the Joint Parliamentary Assembly shall continue to be composed of an equal numbers of EU and ACP representatives and that it shall meet regularly in plenary session, alternately in the European Union and in an ACP State, and not dependent on the convening of Joint Council meetings. Regional Partnership Parliamentary Committees shall hold yearly meetings, and not be dependent on the meetings of the Regional Partnership Council of Ministers being convened.

In view of the expiry date of the Cotonou Agreement in February 2020, the Co-Presidents of the JPA welcome the decision made by the ACP-EU Council of Ministers to delegate to the ACP-EU Committee of Ambassadors the power to adopt transitional measures until the new ACP-EU partnership comes into force.
The Co-Presidents of the JPA reconfirm the positions expressed in its two resolutions on post Cotonou adopted respectively in October 2016 and June 2018 and believe that some of its essential elements need to be strongly reiterated so that they can be fully taken into account during the remaining time of the negotiations.

Declaration by the ACP-EU JPA Co-Presidents on Guinea Bissau

The Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, Mr Carlos Zorrinho and Mr Joseph Owona Kono, express their deep concern with the current political developments in Guinea-Bissau and deem the Presidential decree aiming to dismiss Prime-Minister Gomes and his Government as unconstitutional and therefore illegal.

Such a move weakens the efforts put in place for elections and the programme that has been approved by the national Parliament with support from both regional and international partners, notably proven by the ECOWAS statement on the matter on 29 October 2019.

They call for the presidential elections foreseen on November 24th to be pursued and for all necessary measures to be taken to ensure stability and peace in the run-up to the elections and to allow for free, fair and transparent elections. They call on all actors to respect and promote the electoral process and not to take any actions that risk undermining it.
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