Thursday 14. November 2019

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This is the outcome of the debate:

 

 

Call on the new MEPs:

 

>> Develop an alternative system of Economic Partnership Agreements (“EPAs”) that primarily favours regional integration of African economies

 

 

Having regard to the facts

that the current EU’s Economic Partnership Agreements (“EPAs”) are pushing African countries to accept market liberalisation. Opening their markets to international competition puts at risk their infant industries causing the closure of domestic manufacturing and thus increasing unemployment. In addition, the elimination of custom duties threatens an important share of the African governments’ revenues. This means that they will have to cut their national budgets for education, health and social services. EU’s current trade policy also poses a threat to the food sovereignty of African countries as the local producers will not be able to compete with cheap subsidised European imports.

 

Reflecting on Christian Social Thinking

which particularly emphasises human dignity, justice, equal distribution of wealth as well as the sustainability of creation to be the key principles that should govern trade and economic relations. Pope Paul VI recalls in the Encyclical Populorum Progressio (1967, § 59) that “trade relations can no longer be based solely on the principle of free, unchecked competition, for it very often creates an economic dictatorship. Free trade can be called just only when it conforms to the demands of social justice”.

 

Taking into consideration the opinions of interested citizens

who in their contributions especially pointed out the inequality of the current trade relations between the EU and Africa. It is a concern for the consulted citizens that very often the EU’s trade policy is governed by the economic interests of major corporations and lacks a more human approach. EPAs should better reflect the interests and needs of developing countries and their local populations and facilitate a holistic development.

 

Whereas

 

1. The Cotonou Agreement which offers a framework for EU’s cooperation with developing countries in economic, social and cultural matters, states that Economic Partnership Agreements (“EPAs”) shall, “as development instruments, aim to foster smooth and gradual integration of the Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific States into the world economy".

 

2. However, the current system of EPAs is rather focused on facilitating the economic activities of major European corporations and does not foster the regional integration process between African countries, as they would like to have it.

 

3. The current system of EPAs also fails to acknowledge that African countries need time to strengthen their economies and protect their industries.

 

4. As experience shows, rapid trade liberalisation is not the way to develop countries. Such a trade policy on unequal terms puts African countries at risk of increased poverty, unemployment, conflict, environmental degradation and unfair distribution of wealth.

 

 

We call on the new MEPs 

 

to ensure that the EU develops an alternative system of Economic Partnership Agreements with African countries that favours local industries and agriculture over global trade and prioritises the integration of small and fragmented markets into stronger regional economies before they are opened up to international competition.

 

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 ...and this was the discussion:

 

What´s your position on the policy proposal:

 

"Develop a system of Economic Partnership Agreements that is fair for Africa"

 

 

Targeted Institutions: European Commission, European Parliament, Council of the European Union

 

Background: The current EU trade policy is rather focused on facilitating the economic activities of major European corporations and it pushes African countries to accept market liberalisation. This puts at risk not only their infant industries but, even more so, an important share of the African government revenues. Consequently, these countries have to cut their national budgets for education, health and social services.

 

Aim: Develop a system of Economic Partnership Agreements between the EU and Africa that fosters sustainable development and economic growth and takes the socio-economic context of the African continent more into consideration.

 

 

 

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