Barbados Participates in Parliamentary Meetings of the ACP and EU

The Honourable Sandra Husbands, M.P., Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade represented Barbados at the recently concluded Parliamentary

Assembly meetings of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the ACP-European Union (EU) Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA).

During this, the Minister’s first session of the ACP (PA) and the ACP-EU JPA the Minister delivered her maiden statement to the Assembly of ACP and European Parliamentarians on the critical matter of ACP-EU Relations Post-Cotonou and the need for a strong parliamentary dimension.  The Minister’s intervention was timely given the recent adoption of the ACP Negotiating Mandate for a post-Cotonou Partnership Agreement with the EU by the ACP Council of Ministers at its 107th meeting in Lomé, Togo.

The 50th Session of the ACP Parliamentary Assembly and the 35th Session of the ACP-EU JPA were held in Brussels, Belgium from June 13-20, 2018. Meetings were held at the ACP Secretariat and the European Parliament respectively. Relations between the 79 ACP members and the 28 EU members are governed by the Cotonou Partnership Agreement (CPA), which was signed in 2000, and is often descried as the most comprehensive partnership agreement between the developing world and the EU, encompassing three pillars: development cooperation, economic and trade cooperation, and political cooperation.  With the CPA set to expire in February 2020, the ACP side is currently awaiting the European Council adoption of its own negotiating position ahead of the expected formal launch of negotiations, in the second half of this year, for a successor agreement. 

The Joint Parliamentary Assembly is a unique consultative body bringing together Members of Parliament from the ACP and Members of the European Parliament to deliberate and exchange views on a range of global issues.

Parliamentarians routinely adopt resolutions which, although not legally binding, are aimed at raising public awareness. Five resolutions were adopted at this session, namely:

  1. ACP-EU Relations Post Cotonou - a strong parliamentary dimension;
  2. The humanitarian crisis in South Sudan;
  3. The impact of the illegal trade in phytosanitary products, seeds and other agricultural inputs on ACP countries’ economies;
  4. The social and environmental consequences of urbanisation, particularly the sound management of industrial and domestic waste;
  5. The urgency of new measures to fight international terrorism.

Several side events, organised around agreed thematic areas were also held on this occasion including, a Workshop exploring the linkage between science and diplomacy which involved a visit to the University of Ghent, a one-day Youth Conference and a Women’s Forum.

Minister Husbands met with several of her colleagues for bilateral talks on potential areas of joint collaboration.  These included co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, the Hon. Joseph Owona Kono (Cameroon), Mr. Louis Michel (Belgium) and  ACP Secretary General, Dr Patrick Gomes.

Embassy of Barbados

Brussels, June 20, 2018