Meeting Interparliamentary Delegation DPAP and PAP Bureau
The Chair of the EP-PAP Delegation Hon. Michael GAHLER thanked the Bureau for agreeing to meet with the European Delegation. on Gahler introduced members of his delegation as follows:
- M. Gahler- Chair of the Delegation for relations with the Pan-African Parliament, Member of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee, of the Sub-Committee on Security and Defence and of the Delegation for relations with South Africa.
- György HÖLVÉNYI (EPP, HU), Member of the European Parliament Committee on Development, the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, the Delegation to the EU-Albania Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee.
- Frank ENGEL (LU, EPP), Vice-Chair of the Delegation for relations with the People's Republic of China, Member of the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, and of the Special Committee on Tax Rulings and Other Measures Similar in Nature or Effect.
- Kris PELLEGRIMS, administrator in the ACP Unit of the European Parliament and focal point for the EP-PAP relations.
This was the first time that the Delegation was meeting with the Bureau of the PAP. The last meeting in Midrand in May 2015, was a bit hampered by unfortunate conditions: the EP delegation arrived one day late because of a power cut at the Brussels airport, and on the PAP side the internal elections procedure took longer than expected. This left little time for discussion with the Bureau and the Chairs of the Permanent Committees.
The main outcome of the Meeting was a joint Declaration which outlines areas of cooperation between the two continental Parliamentary Bodies. The Joint Declaration is attached.
2. Objectives of the Meeting
The most important topic and the primary reason of the existence of a separate European Parliament delegation for relations with the PAP is the follow-up of the JAES, and in particular the 5 priority areas of the 2014-2017 Roadmap established after the 4th EU-Africa Summit in April 2014. This Roadmap helps to focus the attention on a limited number of priorities where progress is achievable and clarifies that the value added is on the continental and regional level of the strategy, in complement to what is being done on the national and in some cases regional level. The JAES Roadmap is in harmony with the Agenda 2063 of the African Union.
- The Roadmap is also supported by the Pan-African Programme (PANAF) under the DCI, whereas in the past no budget was available in support of the JAES.
- Finally, the Roadmap tries to avoid excessive bureaucracy and foresees a simplified implementation structure, building where possible on existing structures.
The role of the two Assemblies is linked to the monitoring of the implementation of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy. But the aim of the Strategy remains to deepen the relations between Africa and the EU, addressing global challenges together. This should be reflected in a more concrete involvement of the two Parliaments in the planning, scrutiny, implementation and monitoring of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy. Following the Summit, an innovation has been put in place for a better planning and follow-up in the form of the Joint Annual Forum (JAF). Honourable Gahler indicated that the two Parliaments should insist on being an active part of this process and systematically be present and consulted when main decisions are to be taken. Two years after the decision on the Roadmap, the Joint Annual Forum has not yet met, and that there is even no agreed date for this Forum (autumn 2016?).
In addition to the participation in the Joint Annual Forum, the two Parliaments should also explore together how to improve the monitoring and oversight role and contribute to the political dialogue. During the Commission to Commission meeting that took place in Addis Ababa on 7 April it was decided to resume holding Ministerial meetings. There is need to ensure parliamentary participation, at least in the margin of these meetings, as has been done in the past. Cooperation between the two Parliaments on this particular issue could help achieving this target.
3. The five Priority areas of the JAES
Peace and security
There is a common understanding on the importance of peace and security as preconditions for political, economic and social development. The Joint Declaration after the 4th EU-Africa Summit committed to strengthen efforts on the fight against terrorism, transnational organised crime, the spread of Small Arms and Light Weapons and on piracy. In particular, the document states that root causes have to be addressed.
This is an urgent priority in light of the on-going crises in the Sahel, Libya, South Sudan, Somalia, the CAR and the Great Lakes region, but it is also the area in which greatest progress has been made within the JAES.
The EU will continue to support the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) through the African Peace Facility and the Pan African Programme (PANAF) under the DCI will support the design and implementation of non-military security strategies at continental and cross-regional levels (transnational and organised crime). The Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace will complement the regional programmes.
The two Parliaments should take note in particular of the decisions of the AU in June 2015 on the financing of Peace and Security, as well as of the Resolution of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly on the evaluation of the African Peace Facility after 10 years. The latter is important because until now the APF has been the main source of financing of AU led Peace Support Operations. The EU-AU cooperation in the area of peace and security is dynamic, with close political dialogue on a wide range of hot spots, and increasing amounts channelled through the African Peace Facility (€ 300 disbursed in 2015). Limited AUC financial management capacity hinders smooth programme implementation.
Several visits and meetings were held, in particular the 8th annual Joint consultative meeting of the EU & AU PSC (Oct 2015) and the first visit of HRVP to the AUC (Oct 2015) .Within the framework of the Sahel strategy, dialogue has been pursued at the highest political level with the group of G5 Sahel countries including the visit of the HRVP/VP to Niger and the subsequent visit of G5 to Brussels. The inter-Malian dialogue was consolidated and the peace agreement was signed on 20 June in Algiers. Following the comprehensive approach the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework Agreement for the DRC and the Great Lakes has received continued political and financial support. The transitional roadmap in the CAR has been completed and ends successfully by the end of the electoral process on February 21 (second round of the presidential elections and the repeat of the legislative elections).Political and financial support has been granted to IGAD to support mediation efforts to overcome the crises in Libya and South Sudan. On the issue of operational cooperation there has been increased financial support provided by the EU through the APF and the Pan African programme (including a programme to fight transnational organized crime)
§ How is the PAP proceeding to evaluate/assess/control the implementation of the JAES by the AU Commission and the AU States?
§ PAP views on set-up of APSA? Has the PAP made any assessment on the functioning of the different components? (Peace and Security Council, Panel of the Wise, the AU Peace Fund, the Continental Early Warning System and the African Standby Force)
§ PAP views on emerging threats like terrorism, organised crime and maritime security?
§ Sustainability of financing, in particular the Peace and Security Operations (parallel discussions on the African Peace Facility by EU Member States). Are AU Member States effectively contributing (voluntarily) 2% of the AMISOM budget, as decided at the AU Summit of June 2015? Call on alternative sources of financing?
§ PAP views on functioning and achievements of the African Centre for Studies and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT/CAERT)?
2. Democracy, good governance and human rights
The promotion of democracy, good governance and human rights is one of the baselines for the Africa-EU dialogue and partnership, although their application remains problematic in practice.
The overall political and institutional framework for the promotion of democracy, good governance and human rights is the African Governance Architecture (AGA). Several instruments have been adopted within this framework, but the process of ratification and especially domestication of most of the instruments is very slow. For example:
• Only the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) can be considered as a truly continental instrument with 53 ratifications on 54
• 28 countries have ratified the Protocol on the African Court on Human and People’s Rights
• 7 countries have signed the Special Declaration allowing individuals and NGOs to seize the Court
• 23 countries have ratified the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG)
The main reasons for the slow and incomplete ratification are weak linkages between the AGA system and national bodies, lack of political will and sufficient knowledge of the system. One of the main roles of the PAP in the AGA, besides its monitoring and oversight role, is to promote the ratification and implementation of the AU treaties and decisions, including in the human rights area. Other action lines under this priority area include support to elections observation, the promotion of CSOs contribution to good governance and human rights and the support to public finance management.
The EU is supporting the African Governance Architecture (AGA) through the Pan African Programme (PANAF) under the DCI. Focus will in particular be on increasing awareness and on the ratification and domestication processes of AU main instruments. The EP and the DPAP could play a role in supporting the PAP in his advocacy role and in developing its capacity in this area.
§ PAP views on the functioning of the African Governance Architecture (AGA)? Has the PAP made any assessment on the functioning of the African Governance Platform? How is the PAP promoting the ratification and implementation of the AU treaties and decisions?
§ What will be the follow-up of the Mbeki report on Illicit Financial Flows? [Some criticism can be read in the press saying that the report is only pointing to external actors while sparing African leaders whom participate in the corruption process …]
§ PAP views on questionable regime changes: Burkina Faso, Burundi, Rwanda, Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) and RDC cases.
§ Position of the PAP on AU Human Rights year 2016? Possible PAP activities/actions in this field?
This priority was brought to the agenda of the 4th EU-Africa Summit by African countries, and it includes cooperation on science, technology, innovation and higher education, but also migration.
The first part of this priority area (education related) has been the first priority of Chairperson Zuma of the AU Commission since her nomination and has been considered by the AU and the European Commission as a priority in their programming.
On "human capital development", efforts are going on in various areas.
On science, technology and innovation, cooperation between African and European research communities are encouraged and grants have been approved under the Pan African Programme (DCI). Also in the frame of the Ebola crisis, several actions from the EU and its Member States contributed to its eradication, through fast-track funding initiatives but also via more structural actions, notably the cooperation on the establishment of the African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. Funding addressed also the urgent research gaps on potential treatment and vaccines against Ebola.
Another jointly funded and managed research and innovation partnership has been set up in the area of food and nutrition and sustainable agriculture. An Expert Working Group has been established since 2014 to develop a scientific input for joint implementation.
On Higher education, the Erasmus+ programme is open to the entire world, and almost 10.000 applications have been received involving 42 African countries for mobility to 28 EU countries. Furthermore, 37 countries have applied for capacity building in higher education.
Other initiatives are taking place such as the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action (training for researchers) or also support to existing AU actions such as the AU Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Scholarship Scheme.
Further, as mentioned in the Roadmap, support is provided to several institutions of the Pan African University, for example the PAU Institute for Space Sciences, hosted by South Africa. Attention is also given to the harmonisation of African Higher Education under the Pan African Programme.
The second part under the heading of Human development was migration. It was such an important issue already in April 2014, at the time of the Summit, that a separate declaration was dedicated to it. In the meantime, the issue has only become more prominent on the agenda.
The contribution of the African Diaspora to development. The Roadmap for 2014-2017 notably committed "... to foster synergies between migration and development, including by reducing the costs of remittances, enhancing the role and engagement of the Diaspora and consolidating the African Institute for Remittances. We will better organise intra and inter-regional labour mobility and that of business persons.; ..."Diaspora and migrants have for years been instrumental in helping family and friends at home get by, as huge annual remittance flows illustrate, but their contributions beyond remittances could have a significant impact on development, if tapped into.
According to the World Bank, African Diaspora savings, at US$53 billion every year, exceed annual remittances to the continent and are mostly invested abroad. Do you know what the AU is doing in this area to promote the set-up of businesses in Africa by the Diaspora?
4. Sustainable and inclusive development and growth and continental integration
While it is only the fourth priority area, this is perhaps the most important one because it includes the recipes for economic growth, which is a precondition for the challenge of the galloping demography.
Regarding the modalities and the framework, this area emphasises the role of the private sector, investment and trade, rather than traditional development assistance. In addition, the successful conclusion of negotiations on the Economic Partnership Agreements with West, Southern and East Africa can also yield further economic growth. These EPAs are in line and complementary to the establishment of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA).
Negotiations on the CFTA are scheduled to be concluded by the end of 2017, which seems quite optimistic. But in parallel a Tripartite Free Trade Agreement was signed by some of the SADC-EAC-COMESA Member States on 10 June 2015 in Sharma El Sheik which is scheduled to be implemented by 2017.
EU's support to CFTA of €7.5 million is being channelled through the AU Support Programme III and consists of direct support to negotiations as well as technical expertise and technical studies. In regard to the above, two milestones are useful to note. The First Negotiation Forum took place in Addis Ababa in February 2016, with 43 countries participating and during which a number of important framework and procedural aspects were agreed. The Secretariats of the RECs participated as observers and in advisory capacities. The Second Negotiation Forum, scheduled for 16-24 May 2016 is expected to address inter alia further planning and organisational issues including the establishment of Technical Working Groups and a modalities framework (formulas, targets, or specific measures). It is intended to involve administrative structures critical for effective implementation such as Customs and other border management agencies.
But trade is of course not the only driver of growth. Focus should in the first place be on the industrialisation and transformation of raw materials with value added. This is closely related to the previous area on Human Development. From the economic sectors point of view, focus is on agriculture, pharmaceuticals and infrastructure. Following the 2014 Year of African Agriculture, a Roadmap was adopted at the AU Summit of January 2015 on agriculture and nutrition which will contribute to food security. In the area of infrastructure, which is essential for interconnecting Africa, EU blending facilities are continuing to provide major financing for energy, transport, water supply and ICT.
§ PAP views on possible improvement of cooperation in order to generate economic growth?
§ PAP views on successes and failures with regard to regional integration?
§ PAP views on the implementation of EPAs and their possible contribution to regional integration?
§ PAP views on the Continental Free Trade Agreement and deadlines (2017)?
5. Global and emerging issues
Major developments took place last year on three major issues.
The 3rd Financing for Development conference in Addis in July 2015 defines the financial sources to implement the development agenda.
At the September 2015 meeting in New York, the UN decided on the Agenda 2030 on 17 Sustainable Development Goals. It can be considered as a success for the cooperation between African and European countries, as a commitment had been taken by both Commissions in April 2015 to closely cooperate on this issue.
On climate change, the positions were initially less concurrent, but ultimately the results were beyond what was expected. At the COP21 meeting in Paris in December 2015 a legally binding global agreement for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions was concluded. This shows that all major actors are getting convinced of the necessity and the urgency to act and to act together. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Detailed measures are to be taken by each individual country.
§ Following the 3rd Financing for Development conference, what were the specific consequences for the AU or the PAP?
§ Are there specific initiatives taken by the PAP or the AU to increase African own resources rate? Does the PAP have any preferences for alternative sources of financing?
§ Is there any particular PAP concern or particular position on the matter of the Agenda 2030 (SDGs)?
§ Is there a specific AU follow-up on the agreement on Climate Change in Paris (monitoring of the implementation of the commitments)?
In addition to the five priority areas of the JAES Roadmap, the 2014 EU-Africa Summit also changed the follow-up and implementation process of the actions under the Strategy. It introduced the Joint Annual Forum (JAF) to review on a regular basis the progress made in particular areas, with all stakeholders, including the EP and the PAP, involved. The first JAF was to take place in Addis Ababa in July 2015, but to date, when two of the three years before the next Africa-EU Summit have passed, there has still not been any JAF, and there is even not an agreement on a date. The reason often given is that there is no agreement among AU Member States on the attendance of Civil Society Organisations. A "pre-JAF" (without Parliaments) has been organised in Addis Ababa on 04 April before the College to College meeting of 07 April.
There is need to closely follow this issue and try to participate in this forum in the future.
There is also need to plan the parliamentary meeting for the next Africa - EU Summit which is envisaged to take place in Africa. The meeting agreed that the meeting could be held over a period of 3 and half days.
§ Is the PAP invited/participating in any joint meetings of the EU-AU institutions?
§ How could the PAP - EP action be strengthened?
§ How will the PAP organise itself to prepare and follow up the Joint Annual Forum?
§ Are there particular issues that we could already identify now as a priority for the next Roadmap?
Ratification of the Revised Protocol
The Republic of Mali, Sierra Leone and Mauritania have ratified the revised Protocol. Benin, Chad, Congo, and Guinea-Bissau have signed the Protocol. The PAP received the report on the transition from the consultants supported by EC funds in 2015. The PAP is concerned with the slow rate of ratification.
The EP has been supporting the PAP in the past and will continue to do so. Not with funding, but on technical issues and given its expertise, gradually acquired through more than 50 years of slow evolution to a legislative Parliament that participates in the adoption of the bulk of new legislation applied in the EU Member States.
In November 2015, at the end of the process of the external assessment on the implications of the revised Protocol, a first study visit was organised in the EP for one PAP official and for one expert in order to allow him to finalise the drafting of the study on the transition.
On 18-20 April 2016, a second study visit was organised in the EP for senior staff of the PAP.
In 2015, the EP Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group (DEG) designated the PAP as a priority regional parliament for the EP's democracy support activities. This status remains valid in 2016, which means that further training activities could be organised together on the way of the transition.
Ongoing discussions on the future direction of post Cotonou partnership agreement after 2020
Cooperation between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of States has come a long way after 53 years of partnership. The Cotonou Agreement which entered into force in April 2003 is the most recent of a series of agreements and provides for a unique framework covering development, political, trade and economic cooperation by establishing the most comprehensive partnership agreement between ACP countries and the EU.
The ACP-EU joint institutions include a Council of Ministers, a Committee of Ambassadors and a Joint Parliamentary Assembly that assure the implementation of the Agreement. However this Agreement was concluded for a 20-year period and will expire in February 2020.
As stated under Article 1 of the Agreement, the three main objectives of the partnership are to reduce and eventually eradicate poverty, gradually integrate ACP countries into the world economy and achieve sustainable development. Other objectives are to promote and strengthen security, the economic, cultural and social development of the ACP States as well as develop the private sector and increase employment. In its implementation, principles such as the equality of the partners, participation and political dialogue, ownership of the development strategies and accountability underpin the Agreement. Commitments to human rights, democratic principles, and the rule of law and fundamental elements of good governance also transcend the Agreement.
Year after year ratification of the Agreement increased significantly and today the ACP Group consists of 79 members, 48 countries from Sub-Saharan Africa, 16 from the Caribbean and 15 from the Pacific. All are legally bound by the provisions in the Agreement and more precisely are bound to take all the appropriate measures to ensure and to facilitate the fulfillment of the obligations. In that regard, the European Development Fund was created to financially support the Parties according to its own financial and implementation regulation. For the period 2014-2020 the financial resources of the 11th EDF amounts to €30.5 billion.
Notwithstanding the overall success of this partnership, the rapidly changing global context with new worldwide challenges has exerted some pressure on the relationship. Climate change, migration and terrorism as well as emerging powers and new alliances are affecting the partnership. Moreover, since the Cotonou Agreement entered into force the EU and ACP countries have undergone significant changes and enlargements. The EU has faced its biggest financial and economic crisis while the political and economic landscape of ACP countries underwent important changes with some countries achieving higher economic growth.
With 2020 approaching rapidly and considering the difficult context to which the Agreement has to adapt, discussions are ongoing on the future of the Agreement.
The common interests of the EU and ACP countries in a globalised world need to be determined to develop a strategic and solid relationship to face global challenges. Whether any changes need to be done to the framework established by Cotonou to meet these global challenges post-2020 also needs addressing.
Should the Agreement be improved and adapted or fundamentally reframed? There are essentially 3 main choices in regards to the partnership agreement: a dissolution of the joint partnership and its replacement by regional arrangements; the development and adaptation of the ACP–EU partnership that would coexists with the strengthened Regional Economic Communities (RECs) or the emergence of a more dynamic and cohesive ACP group which may establish global partnerships beyond the EU. No formal position has yet been expressed by either side.
However, work has started and a European Commission Staff Working Paper will be issued in June 2016 with an evaluation of the first 15 years of the Cotonou Agreement. In November 2016 the European Commission should present to the Foreign Affairs Council a recommendation to get a negotiating mandate for negotiations with the ACP counterparts, together with an impact assessment.
In parallel on the ACP side, the Eminent Persons Group will present their conclusions on 1 June 2016 at the ACP Summit in Papua New Guinea that will adopt the ACP position by a statement or declaration.
In order to be able to influence this process at an early stage, the European Parliament is preparing a resolution to be adopted on 1 October 2016. A first exchange of views on the draft report will already take place in June. These exchanges of views are crucial as according to Article 95 of the Agreement, to discuss and enter into negotiations on a successor agreement by the 31st August 2018. It is hence time to address these profound questions to shape the future direction of the partnership.