BRUSSELS, Belgium, Wednesday September 5, 2012 –Concern is being voiced by the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of states over a new European policy that may result in the exclusion of some countries from bilateral aid.
The Europe Commissions Agenda for Change outlines an altered approach towards European aid to the former European colonies, according to ACP Secretary General Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas.
The proposed policy would see EU development assistance delivered “more efficiently” by concentrating on key priority areas and targeting resources towards least developed countries, while cutting allocations to upper middle income and high income countries.
“The inclusion of the element of graduation, linked to a differentiated approach with respect to access to resources, in our view is not within the spirit of the Second Revision of Cotonou,” Dr Chambas said.
“We believe that ACP countries that have achieved favourable economic performance should be supported to transition into a more stable and sustainable growth path. Countries should not be unduly punished because they have been able to ensure growth and prosperity through discipline, sound governance and prudent economic policies,” the ACP Secretary General Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas added.
Specific vulnerabilities faced by Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are not reflected in the economic classification of countries, it is argued.
Countries in the Caribbean are most likely to be at risk of exclusion from EU bilateral aid under the proposed policy, as well as several countries from Africa and the Pacific.
The ACP group of states is calling on the European Union to refrain from taking any unilateral measures that would modify the legal framework of the 2010 revised Cotonou Agreement.
“The dialogue on this issue is continuing in Brussels and we hope that a mutually acceptable solution can be found soon,” Chambas said.
As the largest donor of development aid worldwide, the European Union allocates more than EU22billion (one euro = approximately US$1.25) to ACP countries within the 10th European Development Fund framework covering 2008 to 2013.