Tuesday, November 26, 2013

ACP - EU parliamentary assembly opens in Ethiopia

Serious talk! EU Member of Parliament Ana Gomes, known for publicly criticising Ethiopia following the 2005 government crackdown, which claimed over 200 lives, in a seemingly serious discussion during lunch break with Ethiopian MP and Speaker of the House Abadulla Gemeda in Addis Ababa, November 25, 2013
The 26th European Union (EU) and African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) opened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Monday morning.

The assembly is expected to debate several issues, ranging from use of natural resources to fiscal reform and redistribution of wealth and decentralised cooperation.

The gathering is also expected to discuss respect for the rule of law and the role of an impartial and independent judiciary and South-South and triangular cooperation.

The assembly that will be concluded on Wednesday, has no decision-making powers.

However, it allows elected representatives of ACP countries to address their concerns directly to the EU Commission and be updated on the negotiations on trade deal, such as the Cotonou Agreement.

“There is an ample room for more enhanced partnership in many areas of interest to both sides,” said Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, while opening the assembly.

“But in a large sense, this relationship should not in any way be based on the rather obsolete assumption that one side is the ultimate provider and the other perennial receiver of resources whatever the object of the relationship might be – economic or political.”

JPA comprises 78 members of parliament and 12 vice-presidents from both sides (EU and ACP).

The assembly is expected to be concluded after discussing social and environmental impacts of pastoralism on ACP countries on the last day.

JPA meets twice a year, once in the EU, traditionally in the country holding the presidency of the Council of the EU and once in an ACP country, determined by the group of ACP countries.