de Brún calls on EU to prioritise needs of developing countries
Bairbre de Brún MEP today called for "Economic Partnership Agreements to be more focused on promoting the social and economic well-being of people living in developing countries." The call was made in advance of a Thursday's vote in the European Parliament on the development impact of Economic Partnership Agreements.
Speaking in Strasbourg de Brún said:
"Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) need to be more development friendly. They should be less focused on benefitting European corporations and more focused on promoting the social and economic well-being of people living in developing countries.
"ACP countries have voiced a series of concerns regarding 'contentious clauses' in the initialled "stepping stone" EPAs and have requested that these be addressed before signing.
"Some ACP countries are unable to make commitments beyond a trade in goods agreement at the present time and wish to opt out of other aspects of the EPAs until they reach a sufficient level of development to embrace the full agreement. A goods-only agreement is all that is needed for WTO compatibility
'The development and diversification of African economies in particular requires a wide range of programmes and policies, such as the strategic application of tariffs, that will be severely constrained within the proposed EPA terms.
'We urge the reopening of negotiations on full and interim EPAs on contentious issues and urge the Commission to give ACP negotiators sufficient time to evaluate the agreement and to make suggestions before adopting the relevant agreement.
"We also stress that the final EPA agreements should include a revision clause and a global assessment impact, which should be carried out within 3 to 5 years after the signature of the agreement."