International conference as part of the EU presidency project of VENRO Prospects for Africa - Europe’s Policies
Place: Gremiensaal, Deutsche Welle, Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 3, 53113 Bonn
Africa’s development is a focal aspect of Germany’s and also the subsequent EU Council Presidencies of Portugal and Slovenia, and it is to play a prominent role at the informal meeting of development ministers on the Petersberg on the 13th March 2007. Immediately ahead of this, the international conference "Prospects for Africa- Europe’s Policies” is to discuss the topical issues that are going to crucially influence the change in relations between the EU and the African countries.
The EU has still not succeeded in achieving policy coherence for development, i.e. the objectives of different policy areas, such as trade and agriculture, are still having a negative impact on the development goals. The conclusion of the so-called Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), which the German Government intends to support, is of particular importance to the development of the African states. The EPAs were originally devised as development tools. But the current state of negotiations suggests that many of the poorest African countries are not going to withstand the competitive pressure exerted by European export industry. European NGOs are strongly calling on the EU to delay the negotiations in order to ensure that EPAs are good development tools. The discussion topics are the conditions that the EPAs have to fulfil for them to ultimately be conducive to development and the contributions that the subsequent presidencies of Portugal and Slovenia have to make in order to improve political coherence.
As basic principles in the Cotonou Agreement, partnership, ownership and participation show considerable shortcomings in practice. In December 2005 the EU presented a strategy for Africa that yet remains to be turned into a common EU-Africa strategy. Because of the shortcomings on the consultation to establish the EU-Africa strategy, a new public consultation was officially launched. This is to evolve into a joint declaration at the EUAfrica Summit planned for the end of 2007. The timeframe is tight. How can it be ensured that African and European NGOs will be able to participate substantially? Is the strategy going to give greater consideration to the interests of the African countries? Does this new process represent a paradigm shift in European policy vis-à-vis the NGOs?
1. Are EPAs pro-development? The policy coherence for development of EU-ACP free trade agreements.
2. View on the Coherence Programme of the Forthcoming Presidencies
3. How to improve the EU Africa Partnership? The role of African and European NGOs.
You can register online for this conference.
The conference will be held in English.
For further information, please contact:
Anke Kurat, VENRO
Phone: +49 (0) 228 946 77 12
Fax: +49 (0) 228 946 77 99