EU Ambassador In Tonga To Discuss Replacement For Cotonou Agreement

Ambassador interested in consolidating Pacific islands negotiations on new cooperation deal

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, April 6, 2017) – HE Andrew Jacobs, the European Union Ambassador for the Pacific is in Tonga with a delegation on an Enhanced High Level Dialogue with the Tongan government over a new agreement to replace the Cotonou Agreement which expires in 2020.

The agreement was signed between the EU and 78 African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States ACP countries in June 2000 at Cotonou, Benin, Africa. It was founded on three pillars: Development Cooperation, Political cooperation and Economic and trade cooperation; with the objective of reducing and eventually eradicating poverty, and came into force on April 2003.

During the past few years Papua New Guinea and Fiji parted from the Cotonou Agreement and signed a separate agreement with the EU, the Economic Partnership Agreement .

Meanwhile, the EU is eager to consolidate its relations with Tonga and other Pacific Islands, and negotiation for a new agreement is going on to replace the Cotonou Agreement when it expires in 2020.

Andrew said that under the new agreement, the European Commission will introduce different terms and conditions to each of the regions, Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific. In the current Cotonou Agreement terms and conditions is the same for all the regions.

“We find that in the past there we missed the opportunity to really focus on the challenge of these three different geographic areas.

“A program may be perfect in Africa, but may be don’t necessary fit all the requirements in the Pacific . . .”

He stressed that the whole world is going through a very tricky period, “But the EU is eager to consolidate its relations with Tonga and other Pacific Islands, and negotiation on the new agreement will be going on to replace the Cotonou Agreement in 2020."

With regards to the United Kingdom, exiting the European Union, Andrew said that the UK formally informed the EU on 29 March of their decision to leave the EU. “This information triggered the two years of negotiation over the UK departure from the EU. . . during these two years period the UKremain a full member of the EU.”

Matangi Tonga Magazine
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