Vanuatu Ambassador: Pacific Deserves ‘Fair Share’ Of ACP Funds

admin's picture

Pacific negotiations with EU reaching ‘critical junction’

By Jane Joshua

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, June 13, 2012) – The Pacific is an integral part of the African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) grouping and as such must be accorded equal financial fair share in the ACP-EU Fund.

The above remarks were made by Vanuatu’s Ambassador to Brussels Roy Mickey Joy at the 1st Pacific-European Union (EU) Business Forum who further elaborated, "I can confirm 6 months ago the president announced a total sum of 340 billion Euros [US$424.6 billion] intended for ACP-EU work. The question is how do the Pacific’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO) buy into this global fund?

"I’d be very honest-the Pacific is quite far from Brussels," he said. "We are going to celebrate the 37th year of the ACP cooperating with the European Union since 1975.Most of you in this room have been involved one way or the other in ACP-EU relations.

"The question one needs to ask is whether the Pacific does feature at all in the current ACP-EU relations, particularly in terms of financing for SMEs, so I want to thank BizClim for realizing and recognizing the particular importance.

"The Pacific is an integral part of the ACP grouping and the Pacific must be accorded equal fair share of the cake. It is on this note that I’m glad BizClim, amongst other operators in Brussels has been able to realize this particular concept and to make this dream come true."

With due reflection to some key people in the room who have some contributions to some degree to the organization of the first Pacific-EU Business Conference in Vanuatu, Mr. M’Hamed Cherif, head of BizClim in Brussels, was congratulated for making this event happen in Vanuatu.

He reiterated it has not been easy since they last met here in January on the 1st BizClim conference in Vanuatu with a few invited colleagues around the table. The whole purpose discussed at that time was to facilitate and allow a greater visibility of the Pacific MSEs.

He assured Mr. Cherif he will continue to work closely with BizClim, and the Pacific’s Ambassadors continued support to the program, as much as possible in support of BizClim which comes to an end soon. Hope was also expressed that BizClim will continue to retain its own status quo, perhaps in a different concept, and that Pacific MSEs should play an integral part in terms of implementation of projects while ensuring the Pacific-based private sectors are an integral part of any future relations between the Pacific and the EU.

Ambassador Joy acknowledged Ms. Andie Fong Toy, the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, for being part of the historical meeting and who will be able to take back the Forum’s role in terms of assisting PIPSO and assisting MSEs in the Pacific.

"We are at a very critical junction in terms of our negotiations with the EU," he said.

"On one hand, we have outstanding issues on EPA, and I am glad as of yesterday the Forum organized a number of briefings for officials in the region in the Ministry of Trade and I can confirm the outcome will be submitted by my Minister to Council this week and also to Joint council.

"My Prime Minister is away on a bilateral mission but will be back on Wednesday; we intend to use this opportunity to raise – as much as possible – outstanding issues.

"From a Brussels’ perspective, you can count on us, the Pacific Ambassadors, for Vanuatu we are there to support to a larger degree to ensure PIPSO and private sector in the Pacific is given visibility in terms of funding.

"When all goes well we can share our experiences on how we can make meaningful contributions on how we can manage and running private sector affairs in the Pacific as it links to EU politics but in terms of financing."

Ambassador Roy Mickey Joy facilitated the first part of the program which led to the Deputy Prime Minister’s subsequent opening of the 1st Pacific-EU Business Forum, a two day dialogue hosted by Vanuatu in the Holiday Inn’s Conference room, Port Vila on the edge of the ACP-EU Joint Council of Ministers.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment