Summary: 25 June 2007, Wiesbaden- The thirteenth session of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, which brings together MEPs and parliamentarians from 78 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, started its work on Monday 25 June in the German city of Wiesbaden. Economic Partnership Agreements, the situation in Zimbabwe and the situation in Darfur were among the issues raised in the opening speeches.
Horst Köhler, President of the Federal Republic of Germany, spoke of the failure of the last week's G4 trade negotiations (involving the EU, US, Brazil and India) : "We should not abandon the idea of multilateral trade. The new Economic Partnership Agreement regime is important above all to promote local production. It will be necessary to organise the opening of these countries to be able to support competition and ensuring food security." The German President reaffirmed the
necessity to fight against corruption both in ACP and EU countries. It is also necessary, he said, to ensure that ACP countries' natural mining resources are used fully.
Hans-Gert Pöttering, President of the European Parliament said: "There should be a conference of ACP and EU parliamentarians before the scheduled EU-Africa summit at the end of this year under the Portuguese Presidency. […] The dignity of the human being is paramount. The work of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly must focus on this." On Zimbabwe, he said: "The European Parliament has great concerns and must draw on the work of President Mbeki of South Africa."
On immigration, the EP President said: "There is no panacea, but the answer can not be FRONTEX (the EU's border guard) alone. Doctors, nurses and other skilled workers are leaving developing countries and this can not continue indefinitely. People are drowning in the Mediterranean, and safe passage must be found. This can only be done by working together."
Glenys Kinnock (PES, UK), ACP-EU Co-President said: "The tragedy of Darfur continues but we are encouraged by the fact that Khartoum has at last agreed to allow a 19,000 strong force to go to that region where violence has killed more than 200,000 people and made 2.5 million people refugees. Now the international community has to ensure that the agreement brokered is honoured, that a new ceasefire agreement is reached and that it is understood that new negotiations for a political deal are now of paramount importance.
On Zimbabwe, Mrs Kinnock said: "We must reflect on the mediation efforts entrusted to President Mbeki by SADC (South African Development Community) and hope that the initiative will bear fruit, and that Zimbabwe can move towards an election conducted fairly and peacefully."
Co-President René Radembino-Coniquet (Gabon) said: "ACP countries are legitimately concerned about the probable risks of economic meltdown which will not be helped by the premature opening of markets. The consequences are obvious for ACP countries which could lead to a perpetual and immense stock of imports"
Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany said: "I can confirm that my government will stick to its commitments made in Monterrey and in Gleneagles at the G8 on the doubling of aid and the writing off of debt."
The JPA will close with a press point with the two Co-Presidents, Glenys Kinnock and René Radembino-Coniquet, which will take place on Thursday 25 June at 1pm local time.
Forthcoming mission to Darfur
A delegation of 5 MEPs from the European Parliament Development Committee will leave for Darfur from 30 June to 6 July 2007. The delegation will be headed by the Chair of the Development Committee and former European Parliament President Josep Borrell (PES, ES)
Co-President : Glenys Kinnock (PES, UK)
Co-President : René Radembino-Coniquet (Gabon)
13th ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly