Speaking Points for Mr. Luís Maia, Head of Cooperation Caribbean Civil Society Forum, Courtyard by Marriott Hotel Bridgetown

Wednesday July 04, 2018; Barbados

Ms. Sheila Ketwaru-Nurmohamed, Chair Board of Directors, Caribbean Policy
Development Centre;
Mr. Percival Marie, Director General, CARIFORUM;
Mr. Richard Jones, Caribbean Policy Development Centre;
Members of the media;
Special invited guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen:

Introduction:
 Let me first thank you for giving me the opportunity to be here with you today and
to discuss the shape and direction that the EU partnership with the ACP group of
states could take after 2020.
 Partnership is actually a simple idea: we all do better when we work together and
invest in our future. Joining forces – this is what the EU is all about. Europe was
built on cooperation, and it is in our DNA to build partnerships on a global level.
Background EU-ACP Partnership Agreement:
 As you all know, the Cotonou Partnership Agreement (CPA) is one of the oldest
and most comprehensive legally binding frameworks of cooperation the EU has

 

with third countries. It focuses on the eradication of poverty and inclusive
sustainable development for ACP and EU countries and is divided into three key
action areas: development co-operation, political dialogue and trade. Signed in 2000
for a period of 20 years, the CPA unites more than one hundred countries (EU
Member States + 79 countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific – ACP) and
represents over 1.5 billion people. Due to expire on 29 February 2020, its
provisions foresee the opening of negotiations on a future partnership by August
2018 at the latest. As you know the EU-ACP partnership started in the 1970s with
the Yaoundé Conventions, which defined this relationship, and was followed by the
Lomé Conventions (1975-2000),
On the EU-ACP added value:
 This is a very defining moment for us all. The world has changed considerably
since the Cotonou Agreement was adopted almost two decades ago, and this is
why it is so important that our partnership responds to the new challenges that we
are facing. Global and regional contexts (in Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and the
Pacific) have evolved significantly – and so have the common global challenges to
be addressed and opportunities to be grasped. We are given a tremendous
opportunity to review the core objectives of our partnership and adapt them to the
new realities and to recast our relations. This is an occasion to create a more
responsive and effective framework, and our objective is to have a fully-fledged
agreement which would effectively fit and reflect today’s changed realities, both in
our respective societies and worldwide.
 The new partnership will be framed by the internationally agreed sustainable
development roadmaps (such as: the UN 2030 SDGs, the Addis Ababa Action
Agenda, the Paris Climate Change Agreement, the European Consensus on
Development, etc.), and will serve as a basis for creating alliances in the
international arena – a powerful tool to jointly tackle global challenges, from

 

fighting poverty and inequality to peace and security, from human rights and
fundamental freedoms to democratic principles and the rule of law, and from
climate change to sustainable growth for all.
 What we need is a bold approach, and as we are in a maritime environment with
the sea just a few steps away, please allow me to quote André Gide in that respect:
“You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the
shore”1.
 The EU is therefore seeking a comprehensive political agreement, setting a
modern, dynamic and forward-looking agenda, and the coming months will be
crucial as we are about to enter a new era in our relationship with ACP countries.
While our ambition is to preserve key components of the Cotonou Agreement,
we also see the upcoming negotiations as an opportunity to break from the past,
paving the way to new dynamics and cooperation going beyond the traditional
development dimension. This is why we seek to deepen our partnership with a new
legally binding agreement, move beyond the donor-recipient relationship, and work
as equal partners on key common or intersected interests. In a nutshell, the future
agreement should be flexible for adaptation and reaction to changing circumstances,
but firm and legally sound to protect and uphold the everlasting principles and
values built throughout our longstanding relationship. We intend to make the most
of this strategic platform, by concluding a more political agreement between the
EU and the ACP countries, in a spirit of true equality and solidarity between
partners, thus building a powerful alliance in international fora – as the EU and
ACP countries altogether represent more than half of the UN membership. This
is more important than ever in an increasingly interconnected – and sometimes
unpredictable – context.

1 André Paul Guillaume Gide (22 November 1869 – 19 February 1951) was a French author and winner of the Nobel Prize in
literature in 1947.

 

On the EU mandate, its main dimensions and potential benefits:
 With regard to the structure of the future agreement, the Commission is
proposing a leaner and more focused architecture, based on a common foundation
agreement at ACP level, in combination with 3 regional pillars: Africa,
Caribbean, Pacific. The proposed “common foundation” would contain: (i) the
important values and principles; (ii) the overarching objectives; (iii) more and
effective cooperation at international level. The tailor-made regional compacts
would: (i) be the centre of gravity for political dialogue and action; (ii) fill the need
for a more regional approach, with tailored priorities; (iii) have their own
governance, with a prominent role assigned to relevant regional organisations to
manage the regional compacts; (iv) respect the principles of subsidiarity and
complementarity. In line with the increasing importance of regional dynamics and
actors and the differentiation in both challenges and needs among the ACP regions,
it is our desire to restructure and update the current relations and also provide a key
role to the regional partnerships. The regionalised approach could be the true
innovation and the largest asset of the post-Cotonou partnership.
 On thematic issues our priorities seem very much aligned with the need to address
the Agenda 2030 objectives, and in particular to bolster public and private
investment and to create decent jobs for all while ensuring that no one is left behind
by tackling inequalities and promoting social protection. Specifically, the
Caribbean Partnership (Pillar) would focus on: (i) Environmental sustainability;
(ii) Climate change; (iii) Sustainable management of natural resources; (iv)
Inclusive and sustainable economic development; (v) Human security, human
rights, and good governance; (vi) Human development and social cohesion.
 In terms of key provisions, a future agreement would take into account the need to
allow the involvement of non-ACP partner countries and regions, for example
the remaining non-ACP SIDS2.

 

 As regards the institutional set-up, the logical translation of the proposed
approach would be the shifting of the core of the decision-making and
implementation process to the regions, building on already existing regional
structures, avoiding overlaps and duplications, and allowing the involvement of
non-ACP partner countries and regions.
 Our mandate has taken into account comments, as well as aspirations and
concerns coming from representatives of the ACP countries and regions we
gathered during the fruitful outreach activities undertaken over the last year. And
looking also at the ACP mandate, I am happy to see that we can already agree
on many elements referring both to the substance and to the structure.
 But Ladies and Gentlemen, what would be the potential benefits and how
could a new era of EU-ACP relations affect the people? Building on the lessons
learned during our 43 years of cooperation and making the most of the new context,
the future agreement will hopefully bring unprecedented opportunities. By setting
up a powerful political alliance, the EU and its partners will be in a position to
develop solutions to the challenges faced in each region. These include growth and
job creation, human development and peace, migration and security issues. Many of
today’s challenges of a global dimension require a concerted, multilateral approach,
in order to achieve tangible results. As it was shown in 2015 with the setting up of a
successful coalition3 that originated from the ACP-EU partnership and ultimately
led to the conclusion of the Paris Agreement on climate change, the EU-ACP
partnership has the power to provide valuable responses to global challenges. If we
join forces, we can form a majority worldwide. Together, we can make a difference
and set a global agenda in international fora.

2 Even now, third countries could become full members of observers in the partnership without being member of neither the ACP
Group nor the EU.
3 High Ambition Coalition

On the involvement of non-state actors:
 Let me briefly take a look at the involvement of civil society: Will non-state actors
have a role in the new agreement? Yes, definitely! I have no doubt that
participation of civil society and other non-state actors will be one of the
fundamental principles of the new agreement, just as it is now enshrined in
(Articles 2, 4 & 7) Cotonou. I have no doubt that their involvement will not be
limited to an occasional information session but implies that civil society’s
inputs and contributions are actively sought from an early stage throughout the
process. And that their engagement will not be limited to capacity building only,
but also to the creation and consolidation of participative structures. As you all
know from the concept note & agenda, the EU Parliament stressed the need for
stronger engagement with civil society as a binding element of the agreement
through a specific article, and requested that meetings between EU and ACP
Members of Parliament (to be held at least once a year in each region) be
complemented by a forum involving civil society and young people. Our mandate
does reflect the inclusive, constructive and dedicated dialogue among EU Member
States and several stakeholders, including civil society and the private sector. The
EU values structured dialogue and is in favour of a multi-stakeholder approach
that includes private sector, civil society, and local authorities. Both the ACP’s
negotiating mandate as well as the Commission’s proposal foresee outreach,
political dialogue, inclusive policy formulation and programme implementation
with non-state actors4.
The European Union values civil society as a crucial component of any democratic
society and partners with CSOs – because we believe that our relationship should
not only be with governments, but also with the people that they represent. A
genuine democracy is like a three-legged stool. One leg is responsive, accountable
4 [(pages 2, 8, 34, 39, 40 of the ACP negotiating mandate); (pages 3, 6, 8, 9, 15, 16, 28, 35, 44, 45 of the Commission proposal of
December 2017)]

government; the second leg a dynamic, job-creating private sector; and the third leg is
a robust and vibrant civil society.
The European Union will remain a stable, reliable, predictable partner, I would
say a point of reference when it comes to multilateralism, fair trade, human rights and
rule of law, economic development, and security, based on cooperation. This is the
way we are working, and this is the way you can count on us to continue to work.
On the negotiation process:
 So what are the next steps towards opening negotiations: after the ACP
negotiating mandate had been adopted on 30 May 2018 by the ACP Council of
Ministers held in Lomé, Togo, the European Commission received authorisation
from the Council (EU Member States) on 22 June 2018 to open negotiations with
the ACP group of states for a new partnership agreement in the coming weeks. The
negotiations for the renewal need to be launched by August 2018, at the latest. One
broad negotiation process is foreseen, and I see the upcoming phase as more of
a genuine dialogue in the spirit of true partnership than as a pure negotiation
process.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the time ahead is limited and what is at stake is our
future. I am convinced that our respective potentials can be fully unlocked and our
challenges successfully met only if we stay united: EU and ACP. This is the
political thinking which feeds our proposal and I am glad to see that this is also
enshrined in the mandate adopted by the ACP Council of Ministers.
Conclusion:
 My wish is that we will agree, without any hesitation, to strengthen and reinforce
our relationship even further in the years to come and conclude an ambitious
political partnership which is fit to address our common challenges and
opportunities. And fit to fulfil the legitimate hopes and aspirations of all our

 

citizens, both in Europe and in the ACP countries alike. In that sense, let me close
with a quote by John F. Kennedy5: “Partnership is not a posture, but a process – a
continuous process that grows stronger each year as we devote ourselves to
common tasks.” Thank you for your attention.

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