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Procedure : 2014/2154(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0012/2015

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Debates :

PV 10/02/2015 - 13
CRE 10/02/2015 - 13

Votes :

PV 11/02/2015 - 9.21
CRE 11/02/2015 - 9.21
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Texts adopted
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Wednesday, 11 February 2015 - Strasbourg
The work of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly

European Parliament resolution of 11 February 2015 on the work of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (2014/2154(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Partnership Agreement between the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, of the one part, and the European Community and its Member States, of the other part, signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000(1) (the ‘Cotonou Agreement’), as first amended in Luxembourg on 25 June 2005(2) and as amended for the second time in Ouagadougou on 22 June 2010(3),

–  having regard to its position of 13 June 2013 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Agreement amending for the second time the Partnership Agreement between the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, of the one part, and the European Community and its Member States, of the other part, signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000, as first amended in Luxembourg on 25 June 2005(4),

–  having regard to the Rules of Procedure of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA), as adopted on 3 April 2003(5) and most recently amended in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) on 27 November 2013(6),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 233/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2014 establishing a financing instrument for development cooperation for the period 2014-2020(7),

–  having regard to its position of 11 December 2013 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a financing instrument for development cooperation(8),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 March 2013 on the preparation of the multiannual financial framework regarding the financing of EU cooperation for African, Caribbean and Pacific States and Overseas Countries and Territories for the 2014-2020 period (11th European Development Fund)(9),

–  having regard to its decisions of 3 April 2014 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget for the Eighth, Ninth and Tenth European Development Funds for the financial year 2012(10), and of 3 April 2014 on the closure of the accounts of the Eighth, Ninth and Tenth European Development Funds for the financial year 2012(11), and to its resolution of 3 April 2014 with observations forming an integral part of its decision on discharge in respect of the implementation of the budget for the Eighth, Ninth and Tenth European Development Funds for the financial year 2012(12),

–  having regard to the resolutions adopted by the JPA on 27 November 2013 on: the respect for the rule of law and the role of an impartial and independent judiciary; South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation: opportunities and challenges for the ACP countries; the social and environmental impact of pastoralism in ACP countries, and security in the Great Lakes region,

–  having regard to the resolutions adopted by the JPA on 19 June 2013 on: the threats posed again by military coups to democracy and political stability in the ACP countries, and the role of the international community; Economic Partnership Agreements – next steps; human resources for health in ACP countries; the situation in the Republic of Guinea; and the situation in the Central African Republic,

–  having regard to the resolutions adopted by the JPA on 29 November 2012 on: the political and humanitarian crisis in Somalia: the challenges for the European Union and the ACP group; ICT-based entrepreneurship and its impact on development in the ACP countries; and the importance of access to energy for sustainable economic development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals,

–  having regard to the resolutions adopted by the JPA on 30 May 2012 on: the political impact of the Libyan conflict on neighbouring ACP and EU States; price volatility, the functioning of global markets for agricultural products and their impact on food security in ACP countries; and the social and environmental impact of mining in ACP countries,

–  having regard to the Communiqué adopted on 19 July 2013 in Abuja (Nigeria) at the JPA West African regional meeting(13),

–  having regard to the Communiqué adopted on 16 February 2013 in Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) at the JPA Caribbean regional meeting(14),

–  having regard to the Communiqué adopted on 20 July 2012 in Apia (Samoa) at the JPA Pacific regional meeting(15),

–  having regard to the Communiqué adopted on 24 February 2012 in Lusaka (Zambia) at the JPA Southern African regional meeting(16),

–  having regard to the Code of Conduct adopted on 19 June 2013 for Members of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly participating in election observation missions,

–  having regard to the UN Millennium Declaration of 18 September 2000, which sets out the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as objectives established jointly by the international community for the elimination of poverty,

–  having regard to the communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled ‘Increasing the impact of EU development policy: an Agenda for Change’ (COM(2011)0637),

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Development (A8-0012/2015),

A.  whereas the ACP-EU JPA has a unique status, being the only multilateral interparliamentary assembly set up under an international agreement, the Cotonou Agreement;

B.  whereas the JPA has developed into a genuine parliamentary assembly, offering a forum for the open and frank discussion of issues which are central to development cooperation, and makes a considerable contribution to the partnership on an equal footing between the ACP countries and the EU;

C.  whereas the Cotonou Agreement between the members of the ACP Group of States and the EU is centred on the target of reducing and eventually eradicating poverty; whereas cooperation should also contribute to sustainable economic development, which is a basis for lasting peace and security and the democratic and political stability of the ACP countries;

D.  whereas fact-finding missions were organised in 2013, to Mali to better understand the fragile situation of the country, to Liberia to contribute to the political dialogue as foreseen in Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement, and to Haiti to verify the reconstruction and the political situation;

E.  whereas, after the adoption by the Assembly of a Code of Conduct for its Members participating in election observation missions, a new dynamic has been created which contributes to added value, as is the case of the joint JPA missions to the presidential elections in Mali and the parliamentary elections and the second round of presidential elections in Madagascar;

F.  whereas the revision of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement in 2010 strengthened the role of the JPA and its regional dimension;

G.  whereas full involvement of the JPA should be ensured in the framework of the political dialogue conducted in accordance with Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement;

H.  considering that it would be important to stimulate a regular informal dialogue based on substantial analysis with different categories of relevant official and non-official actors, in ACP-UE circles (the Joint Parliamentary Assembly, the ACP-EU Council, the ACP-EU private sector and civil society dialogues) and in other circles that do not have a direct interest in the ACP-EU world;

I.   whereas from 2003 to 2013, almost all the European sessions of the JPA took place in principle in the country holding the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union; whereas the rotating presidencies must respect the commitments made under the Cotonou Partnership Agreement in this regard;

J.  considering that the rapid rise of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and other emerging economies at the global level and in the ACP countries and regions is having a growing impact on the ACP Group and the current state of ACP-EU relations;

K.  whereas under the new rules governing travel adopted by the European Parliament’s Bureau, accredited parliamentary assistants are no longer able to assist Members during plenary sessions of the JPA, which has a considerable impact on parliamentary work;

1.  Welcomes the fact that the JPA, as one of the joint institutions of the Cotonou Agreement, continues to provide a framework for an open, democratic and comprehensive dialogue between Members of the European Parliament and the parliamentarians from ACP countries on implementation of this Agreement, including scrutiny of development cooperation under the EDF and conclusion and implementation of the EPAs; welcomes the capacity of the JPA to be a forum in which difficult and controversial subjects can be discussed frankly and openly; calls, therefore, for the future agreement, replacing the Cotonou Agreement, to include an explicit mention of non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity, as demanded on many occasions by the European Parliament;

2.  Stresses the need to strengthen political dialogue, and in this respect stresses the JPA’s role in promoting and defending the principles set out in Article 9 of the Cotonou Agreement, particularly those relating to the rule of law and good governance;

3.  Stresses the added value of holding the JPA sessions in the EU Member States holding the EU Council Presidency by rotation, and believes that this rotation should be maintained in the future; expresses concern at the unfortunate circumstances that led the Irish Presidency not to host the 25th Session; commends, however, the government of Denmark for agreeing to host the highly successful 23rd Session in Horsens, where cultural and educational links were established between the citizens of Horsens and ACP delegates; deplores the lack of interest shown by some EU Member States having held, or expected to hold in the future, the EU Council Presidency by rotation, in hosting the JPA sessions; calls on any EU Member State holding the EU Council Presidency by rotation to involve itself more deeply in the preparation, organisation and hosting of the JPA session;

4.  Underlines the importance of the JPA meetings, including the meetings of standing committees, but regrets that there was often unequal participation between EU members and ACP members and is concerned at the declining participation of EP members, particularly during the voting sessions; notes that there was more equal participation in missions, such as the regional meetings, and hopes these examples will be followed for JPA meetings in Brussels in the future;

5.  Recalls the commitment expressed by the outgoing Vice-President/High Representative that the EU Council should be represented at ministerial level at the sessions of the Assembly, and calls on the incoming Vice-President/High Representative to respect this commitment;

6.  Recalls the obligation of the ACP-EU Council to provide an annual report to the Assembly on the implementation of the Cotonou Agreement, which should include political, socio-economic and environment impact elements, rather than being a mere account of meetings held;

7.  Recalls that, in accordance with Article 14 of the revised Cotonou Agreement, the joint institutions shall endeavour to ensure coordination, coherence and complementarity as well as an effective and reciprocal flow of information; is of the opinion that, as the President of the European Parliament is invited to the meetings of the European Council, the two Co-Presidents of the JPA should be given the opportunity to participate in the sessions of the Joint ACP-EU Council of Ministers; invites the Vice-President/High Representative to further improve the existing cooperation and ensure that the JPA is invited to participate in the next Joint Council;

8.  Stresses the crucial role of the ACP national parliaments, local authorities and non-state actors in the preparatory phases and monitoring of the Country and Regional Strategy Papers and the implementation of the European Development Fund (EDF); calls on the Commission and the ACP governments to guarantee their involvement by supplying all available information to the parliaments of the ACP countries in good time, and assisting them in exercising democratic scrutiny, in particular by means of capacity building;

9.  Takes note of the work of the Working Groups of the Committee on Development of the European Parliament on scrutiny in assessing and monitoring the programming documents for ACP countries and regions under the 11th European Development Fund, and asks for a reporting procedure to the JPA members on the outcomes of this process;

10.  Congratulates the JPA Bureau for extending its work beyond purely administrative matters and using its meetings also for political discussions, by including on the agenda of its meetings in Brussels and Addis Ababa substantive issues of mutual concern, such as ‘the future of ACP-EU relations after 2020’; invites continuation of this practice in the future;

11.  Calls on the JPA Bureau to develop a more strategic orientation concerning the work programme of the Assembly and the choice of reports by its Standing Committees, making sure that the reports are closely linked to the strategic objectives of the JPA and contribute in particular to the negotiations on the post-2015 development framework and EU-ACP relations after 2020;

12.  Reiterates its deepest concern at the deteriorating political and humanitarian situations in several ACP countries and regions, including the domestic and external repercussions of such situations at various levels, and expresses solidarity with the affected populations; calls on the JPA to continue to monitor the situation in ACP countries in crisis, to pay closer attention to situations of state fragility, and to call on the ACP and EU States to fight in a coordinated fashion against the outbreak of the Ebola virus in Western Africa;

13.  Welcomes the increasingly parliamentary – and hence political – nature of the JPA, together with the ever more active role played by its members and the greater quality of its debates, which are helping it make a vital contribution to the ACP-EU partnership; calls on the JPA to strengthen the dialogue on human rights in line with the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the Cotonou Agreement, and to place this dialogue on its agendas as a recurring item;

14.  Draws attention to the fact that the discussion on the post-2020 ACP-EU relations and the future of the ACP group is under way, and stresses the importance of the role that the JPA should play in this process; underlines, in this regard, the need for a comprehensive and strengthened joint parliamentary oversight, independently of the final outcome; stresses that any future agreement taking the place of the Cotonou Agreement should include an explicit mention of non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity, as demanded on many occasions by the European Parliament;

15.  Reiterates its deep concern over the adoption and discussion of legislation further criminalising homosexuality in some ACP countries; calls on the JPA to place this on the agenda for its debates; calls for reinforcement of the principle of non-negotiable human rights clauses and sanctions for failure to respect such clauses, inter alia with regard to discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age, sexual orientation or gender identity and against people living with HIV/AIDS;

16.  Considers that the post-Cotonou discussion should be an occasion to thoroughly analyse both the failure and the success of the current agreement in terms of the sustainable socio-economic development of ACP countries; believes also that any future ACP-EU development and economic cooperation, as well as trade and investment arrangements, should ensure that no ACP country be left worse off;

17.  Calls on the JPA bureau to appoint, within the JPA, two standing co-rapporteurs on Policy Coherence for Development (PCD), to work closely with the European Parliament’s PCD standing rapporteur, and to produce a biannual report on the implementation of Article 12 of the revised Cotonou Agreement;

18.  Believes that, coinciding with JPA sessions, meetings should be held with civil society organisations active in the countries concerned, the idea being to foster a broader vision and to capitalise on their fund of experience and activities, emphasising best practice, with a view to forging closer ties with those organisations;

19.  Insists that the EPAs with ACP countries should serve development objectives which reflect both national and regional interests and the needs of the ACP populations in order to reduce poverty, achieve the MDGs and ensure respect for fundamental human rights, including socio-economic rights such as the right to food or the right to access basic public services;

20.  Invites the EU-ACP JPA to develop a common approach in defining the future development framework after 2015; encourages the engagement of the JPA members in negotiations on the new Sustainable Development Goals;

21.  Welcomes the fact that successful regional meetings as provided for in the Cotonou Agreement and the JPA Rules of Procedure were held in 2012 and 2013; acknowledges that these meetings make for a genuine exchange of views on regional issues, including conflict prevention and resolution, regional integration and cooperation, and the negotiations for the WTO-compatible EPAs; commends the organisers of the successful meetings in Nigeria, the Dominican Republic, Samoa and Zambia;

22.  Stresses the importance of the workshops organised during the JPA sessions, which complement the plenary debates; invites the Bureau, which is responsible for monitoring the follow-up to resolutions and decisions of the Assembly, to enhance its role and follow up with the chair and rapporteur of the standing committee concerned;

23.  Welcomes the participation of the EP Co-President of the JPA in the informal meetings of EU Ministers for Development and in the 7th Summit of ACP Heads of State and Government;

24.  Calls on the Commission to continue the practice of providing answers in writing beforehand to the oral questions tabled at each session of the Assembly;

25.  Calls on the states that have not yet done so to ratify the revised Cotonou Agreement;

26.  Commends Commissioner Piebalgs for his dedicated involvement and the high quality of his contribution to the work of the JPA;

27.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the ACP Council, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the JPA Bureau, and the Governments and Parliaments of Denmark, Suriname, Ireland and Ethiopia.

(1) OJ L 317, 15.12.2000, p. 3.
(2) OJ L 287, 28.10.2005, p. 4.
(3) OJ L 287, 4.11.2010, p. 3.
(4) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0273.
(5) OJ C 231, 26.9.2003, p. 68.
(6) OJ C 64, 4.3.2014, p. 38.
(7) OJ L 77, 15.3.2014, p. 44.
(8) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0571.
(9) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0076.
(10) OJ L 266, 5.9.2014, p. 145.
(11) OJ L 266, 5.9.2014, p. 158.
(12) OJ L 266, 5.9.2014, p. 147.
(13) APP 101.509.
(14) APP 101.351.

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