Regional integration Regional integration recipe for peace and by lxq53487


									                  Wednesday, 19 March 2008

                PRESS RELEASE
                    No. 3

             Regional integration

           Regional integration recipe for
          peace and prosperity in the ACP

     Directorate-General for Communication

EN                                           EN
                                 REGIONAL INTEGRATION

Debate: 19.03.2008
Vote: 20.03.2008

Regional integration recipe for peace and prosperity in the ACP
Co-rapporteurs: Bornito de Sousa (Angola) and Filip Kaczmarek (EPP-ED, PL)

Insights into EU regional integration processes that could help to build peace and
prosperity in ACP countries are set out in a report to be adopted by the ACP-EU JPA
on Thursday 20 March. But ACP regional integration could be jeopardised by the way
in which interim EU-ACP Economic Partnership Agreements are being arranged, it

"This is not an attempt to hand down a recipe unilaterally", said Bornito de Sousa, stressing
that the draft takes account of constraints on ACP states and acknowledging the experience
accumulated by the ACP states' 20 regional organisations, such as CARIFORUM in the
Caribbean. He also stressed that the African Union had proven an active mediator in
resolving Kenya's political crisis.

ACP states' regional organisations have never played such an important role as they did in
the Chad and Kenya crises, agreed Filip Kaczmarek. He too stressed that there is no "one
size fits all" prescription, and observed that the report sets out negative experiences, as well
as positive ones, to enable ACP states to learn from Europe's mistakes.

Among the key benefits of integration, Mr Kaczmarek cited peace and security, preventing
potential conflicts from turning into armed ones, prosperity, well-being, democracy and
respect for human rights. He also stressed the need for states to abide by common
standards, for example with regard to the death penalty, and that pooling sovereignty to
tackle problems that know no borders does not entail losing it.

Sovereignty and solidarity
The draft report underlines that strong joint institutions, representing regional rather than
national interests, are needed to push the integration process forward and ensure
compliance with jointly agreed standards.

It invites ACP governments to agree to the joint exercise of sovereignty in areas where long-
term joint interests and cross-border problems exist, and, for example, calls on them to
enhance regional undertakings of joint exploration, regulation and control of natural

The report also notes that solidarity among countries and societies is a key factor of
successful integration, and calls on the ACP regional organisations to develop regional
cohesion mechanisms and solidarity funds, inter alia to help weaker Member States to bear
trade liberalisation adjustment costs.

Press Release – Ljubljana, Slovenia          2                                         ACP/EN
Reconciliation and conflict prevention
The report welcomes the fact that regional and sub-regional ACP organisations play a
growing role in conflict management, peace keeping and peace building, and are important
partners of the United Nations in promoting international peace and security.

It advocates strengthening the regional early warning and early response mechanisms set up
by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Intergovernmental
Authority on Development (IGAD) and calls on the international community to support
capacity-building for regional organisations working for peace and security.

Role of parliaments
The report stresses that all integration processes must be transparent to the population
concerned and require democratic oversight over all political levels through the involvement
of parliamentary bodies and civil society.

It therefore calls on the EU and the ACP Group to step up their support for the parliamentary
structures of regional organisations. It also stresses that direct election of representatives of
Member States in regional parliamentary assemblies contributes greatly to the legitimacy of
the integration process and is a prerequisite for securing it on a lasting basis.

EPAs and regional integration
Some ACP sub-regions and states have entered into interim Economic Partnership
Agreements (EPA) arrangements in a way that may split ACP regional groupings and could
undermine their integration process, warns the report.

The report calls on the EU and ACP countries to ensure that EPAs are consistent with, and
contribute to, the strengthening of ACP regional integration initiatives. It notes that many
ACP countries fear that the current trends of the EPA negotiations and the adoption of
agreements by sub-regions may undermine regional integration efforts, and insists that any
agreements adopted by sub-regions must be open to other members of their respective
regional organisations.
Link to website of the ACP/EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly

Further information:
Andrew Boreham
Ljubljana, Slovenia
Mob. (32) 498 98 3401

Press Release – Ljubljana, Slovenia          3                                         ACP/EN

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