ACP Ministers updated on Central Negotiating Group’s progress

The ACP Council of Ministers at the ACP headquarters in Brussels

The Ministers of the African Carribean and Pacific group have been updated on the progress work of the ACP Ministerial Central Negotiating Group (CNG) towards negotiations with the European Union on a post-Cotonou Agreement starting next month.

Samoa’s Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, participated in the 2nd ACP Ministerial Central Negotiating Group (CNG) Meeting held on Sunday 23 September at the Mauritius Permanent Mission to the UN in New York.

The meeting allowed Ministers to receive a progress report on ACP preparations for the upcoming negotiations with the EU for a post-2020 successor agreement.  It also deliberated on a number of issues requiring their guidance and approval.  Such issues included timelines and sequencing of issues for negotiations, the structure of the final agreement, the ACP and EU negotiating structures, venue for negotiations and cross-cutting themes.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa with other ACP Ministers at last weeks meeting in New York

The Ministerial CNG agreed to prioritize cross-cutting themes as they are considered  fundamental to the definition, elaboration, design and implementation of development policies and programs.   Ministers also reaffirmed the decision of the ACP Council of Ministers that negotiations will only move to the regional level after agreement is  reached at the all-ACP level.  It is envisaged that the final outcome of negotiations will be a legally binding single agreement that would have as its integral chapters, regional agreements.

Ministers also reiterated that negotiations is a member state driven process and that the ACP Secretariat as well as regional and continental organizations are expected to provide the technical backup and support.

Finally, the Ministerial CNG agree to meet with the EU Commissioner for Development, Niven Mimica, on 28 September in NY to publicly reaffirm that formal negotiations between the ACP Group and the EU will commence on 1 October, 2018.

The Prime Minister was accompanied to the meeting by the Samoa Ambassador to Europe given that Samoa is a core member of the CNG and lead negotiator for issues covered under the Development cooperation, technology, science, innovation and research Pillar  of the ACP Negotiating Mandate.

It is expected that negotiations will be concluded by 2019.  The signing ceremony will be held in the second half of 2020.  Samoa has submitted a bid to host the signing ceremony of this very important Agreement.  All previous ACP-EU agreements have been signed in Africa whereby over 3000 delegates attended.