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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, June 2) – The ACP-EU [African, Caribbean and Pacific Group – European Union] Council of Ministers summit will adopt a new financial protocol today to set out the general breakdown of Euro 23.7 billion [US$35.2 billion] in development assistance.

The development aid for ACP states and Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) including Papua New Guinea will be provided under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF), after EU member states decided in December last year to continue funding the ACP-EU development co-operation.

[PIR editor’s note: [PIR editor’s note: The ACP Group includes 77 countries from the African, Caribbean and Pacific Region. The Group was established in 1975 and currently includes 14 Pacific states. Pacific. The Group has had an important trade and aid relationship with the European Union]

ACP-EU Council of Ministers co-president Hans Winkler told delegates and guests during the formal opening of the summit at the National Parliament in Port Moresby the funding was a demonstration of EU member states’ continued commitment as donors. "The European Union and its member states, by far the biggest donor, have repeatedly demonstrated that they follow up words with deeds. The new financial protocol that we will adopt tomorrow and that involves the staggering figure of (euro) 23.699 billion bears witness to that. Besides states of the European Union have unilaterally decided at the European Councils of Barcelona in 2002 and Brussels in 2005 to raise their collective ODA (overseas development assistance) average to 0.39 per cent GNE (gross national income) in 2006 and 0.51 per cent GNE in 2010," Mr Winkler said, though there was some disquiet among EU member states of the European Commission’s administrative cost which is included in the EDF. EU member states are committed to increase their ODA levels to 0.7 per cent by 2015, which Mr Winkler said symbolised their continuous attempts to find ways and means to make their assistance coherent and efficient.

ACP countries’ ties with EU member states varied and historically had its frictions, Mr Winkler said, and pointed out that while agreements and disagreements occurred, both parties could only strive for a better future by working together.

"It is based on the acknowledgement that we do share a set of values and principles and pursue common objectives. In other words – we do need each other to pursue our common objectives based on shared values in order to increase prosperity and wealth in our regions."

The 31st ACP-EU Council of Ministers meeting got underway at the Sir John Guise multipurpose complex after lunch following a pomp formal opening ceremony in the National Parliament chamber led by PNG Head of State Sir Paulias Matane.

June 5, 2006

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier:

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