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Economic Partnership Agreements: Equal Partnerships?


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Topic: Economic Partnership Agreements



Economic Partnership Agreements: what about Africa’s interests?
On the 1st of February 2016, the European Parliament International Trade Committee (INTA) discussed the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). MEP Ska Keller (Greens/EFA) demanded for more human friendly EPA’s and MEP Maria Arena (S&D) questioned whether the EPAs actually represent the African interest. - 22-02-2016

Sustainable development in Economic Partnership Agreements?
MEPs Norbert Neuser, Bernd Lange (both S&D) and Christofer Fjellner (EPP) have raised several questions about the role of sustainable development, human rights and environmental standards in the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and West African states. To strengthen the role of sustainable development in the EPA, Neuser also proposes the creation of a monitoring institution. - 17-02-2016

MEP Le Hyaric demands for solidarity in EU trade policies
Le Hyaric (GUE/NGL) enhanced the European holistic approach to migration with his new amendment in the draft opinion on the situation in the Mediterranean and migration. - 09-02-2016

MEP’s ask questions about human rights in EU-Colombia trade agreement
In 2012, the EU signed a Free Trade Agreement with Colombia and Peru, opening up the market on both sides. The first annual report on the implementation of the Trade Agreement was published in December 2014 and Lola Sánchez Caldentey and Jude Kirton-Darling question if human rights are being respected, as this was one of the conditions of the European Parliament upon signing the treaty. - 15-04-2015

ACP countries and EU member states come with joint resolutions
The Joint ACP-EU Parliamentary Assembly met in Strasbourg from the 13th to the 19th of March. During this 27th session the ACP countries and EU member states discussed and debated many issues like the crisis in the Central African Republic, migrants rights, modernisation of customs regimes, seabed mining, the state of play in the WTO negotiations, renewable energies and climate change. While there were some sharp clashes between ACP members and MEPs over the recent law against homosexuals in Uganda, the session also reached consensus on several issues. A number of resolutions were debated and agreed upon during the session. - 09-04-2014

ACP countries call for more leadership and flexibility in order to push EPA negotiations
While EPA’s were supposed to be in place by 2008, negotiations are still ongoing. Multiple parties present at the meeting raised their concerns about the EU decision to raise a final deadline for October 1st - 17-02-2014

Pushing development out of the EPAs?!
The EU is already negotiating over 11 years with ACP-countries about the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). These agreements are meant to be development-friendly free trade deals closed with regional blocks within the ACP region. Only one regional block, namely the Carribean, concluded on an EPA with the EU.  - 17-12-2013

MEP Sargentini wants mutually beneficial EPAs
In her draft opinion, Judith Sargentini (Greens/EFA) discusses problems with the interim Economic Partnership Agreement (iEPA) that the EU signed with Cameroon. She wants more flexibility in the ongoing negotiations in order to give more time for a mutually beneficial agreement, which would put the developmental and regional integration concerns into the heart of the process. - 25-02-2013

MEPs on behalf of GUE/NGL demand a more coherent EPA
MEPs Paul Murphy, Søren Bo Søndergaard, Marisa Matias, Alda Sousa, Martina Anderson (all GUE/NGL) make critical remarks about the conclusion of the Economic Partnerhsip Agreement with the Eastern and Southern African States. They do so in their motion for a resolution called "on the implementation of the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEPA) between the European Community and the Eastern and Southern Africa States, in the light of the current situation in Zimbabwe". - 05-02-2013

MEPs Keller and Sargentini ask for Coherent trade policies
In their motion for a resolution, 'on the implementation of the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEPA) between the European Community and the Eastern and Southern Africa States, in the light of the current situation in Zimbabwe', MEPs Franziska Keller and Judith Sargentini (both Greens/EFA) come up with some suggestions to make the Economic Partnership Agreement with the Eastern and Southern African States more fair. - 05-02-2013

Sargentini writes draft report on EPAs
MEP Sargentinis draft opinion on the EPAs between Eastern and Southern African States and the EU makes some important remarks about the gaps in these agreements. - 25-10-2012

Commission sets EPA ultimatum
The European Commission has set an ultimatum for the signing of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) for ACP countries. ACP countries which have not signed an EPA by 1 January 2014 will lose their beneficial access to the EU market. The EPAs were designed to support development by promoting regional integration of developing countries. However, the EPAs turned out to be some sort of free trade agreement, demanding partner countries to open up their borders to the EU, and to liberalise not only trade, but also services and investments. This would mean that countries that signed an EPA can’t give preferential treatment to local businesses and investors, to stimulate the local production and market. ACP countries fear that they won’t be able to compete with European corporations and producers and that their markets will be disrupted. Critics say that ACP countries should first be able to diversify their economies and to enjoy regional free trade zones, before opening up completely their borders to the EU. Signing an EPA may lead to a reverse of development and an increase of poverty in ACP countries. - 08-11-2011

Ghanas national CSO platform shares its concerns about the IEPA
This month (september 2011), Ghana will host the ECOWAS Ministerial Monitoring Committee (MMC) on Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) in Accra. The Ghana National CSO Platform on EPA has urged the Ghana government to abandon the separate interim-EPA (IEPA) they made with Europe four years ago, and to do this before the MMC meeting.   According to the CSO Platform, the IEPA is threatening the development and position of both the Ghana and the West African region for several reasons. First of all, the IEPA brings forth an overdependence of Ghana and the region on EU market and a predominance of Europe over these countries economies. Furthermore, the IEPA will further fragment and eventually derail harmonisation of West Africas regional position and regional integration. - 12-09-2011

A new trade strategy, report by INTA committee with an opinion by DEVE.
On behalf of the INTA committee, MEP Daniel Caspary (EPP) wrote the report: a new trade strategy for Europe under the EUROPE2020 Strategy. In this report he states that this modern trade policy should take account of other policy areas among which the EUs development policy. In the  report it is stated that, the European Parliament supports the Commission in its goal to promote sustainable development, international labour standards and decent work, for example by negotiating EPAs, which are to combine European and ACP interests. According to MEP Caspary, the Commission should withdraw GSP benefits in the event of a GSP beneficiary country making use of unfair trade practices, as this would undermine other policies such as environment, development, research and foreign affairs. - 31-05-2011

Written questions MEP David Martin: CARIFORUM and the EPAs
02 October 2008 - 04-03-2011

To sign or not to sign? ACP countries are doubtful about the EPAs.
The Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) that the EU is trying to conclude with the seven regions that together cover the ACP (African Caribbean and Pacific) group of countries, continue to be newsworthy. When the EPA negotiation process started in 2002, one would not have imagined that by 2009 only one full EPA had been signed. However, this is actually the case. The Caribbean states, together also known as Cariforum-group, have signed a full EPA In October 2008 and the process of implementation has started. Only six more to go. The Commission has mentioned June 2009 as the new deadline for all interim agreements signed so far to be transposed into full, regional EPAs, but recent developments indicate that this date is too optimistic. - 04-03-2011

Second chance for EPA resolution during EP Plenary
In October 2008, the 14 Caribbean states that together make up the Cariforum region, signed an Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union. Haiti, the last state to sign, has until 2010 to join in. The process of ratification has not yet been completed, but until that time, the EU and the member states of Cariforum will provisionally apply the EPA. - 04-03-2011

The European Parliament takes its chance to show commitment to development!
Yesterday, March 25th 2009, MEPs voted for the final and improved resolution regarding the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Cariforum, 14 Caribbean states. MEPs showed their commitment to incorporating development firmly in the EPA. Fair Politics EU warmly welcomes the decision by the Parliament to do so, and encouraged it to do so only last week. - 04-03-2011

Commissioner de Gucht acknowledges EU needs to change position towards EPAs
In a debate organised by the Peace Centre and the dienst Europa Direct of the province Antwerp, Commissioner Karel de Gucht openly presented his views on trade and development. Regarding the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) de Gucht said that he inherited this difficult dossier from the last Commission. To re-open negotiations with the ACP countries, de Gucht mentioned two points. Firstly de Gucht mentioned that the fixed figure of 80% market opening is now discussable. Secondly the EPAs should for the time being only focus on goods. Services and investments could be implemented in due time. - 16-11-2010

The personal story of Mr. Akorli, a ghanaian poulty farmer
\[We visit Mr. Akorli at his house in Tamale, Northern Ghana. I know him through one of our partners that currently support local poultry production.  I explain him the objective of my visit and we start talking. Mr. Akorli is an old but vibrant man. He has just suffered from a stroke, but he clearly talks and explains his story.\]  - 06-10-2010

ACP-EU JPA Question by MEP Kader Arif on EPA
The Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between the EU and ACP Countries were initially meant to merge development policy and trade policy into a comprehensive framework with the Cotonou agreement and in order to promote regional integration. Negotiations on regional agreements have been extremely difficult, and therefore interim EPAs have been signed with individual ACP countries, on the basis on regional negotiations. These interim EPAs only reinforce disintegration and trade policies that have had a strong priority over development policies in the agreements, creating incoherence between the two areas. - 04-03-2010

MEP Claude Moraes wants to be sure EPA's will serve development
Claude Moraes (S&D) rightly asks the Commission how they will safeguard development needs of West African states in the ongoing Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations. - 27-10-2009

True impact studies on EPAs: a myth?
When the EU signed the controversial Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Cameroon, as it has with other developing countries, its was claimed by the Commission that many impact studies had been done. Kader Arif (S&D) questions both this claim as studies are hard to find - and the fact that any impact study where available seriously proves the benefits of the agreement. - 24-09-2009