Select Committee on European Union Fortieth Report


ACP-EC PARTNERSHIP (COTONOU) AGREEMENT (15329/05)

Letter from Gareth Thomas MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for International Development to the Chairman

  DFID officials have been in touch with the Clerk to your Committee about the above proposal. In writing about the proposal, I thought it would also be helpful to provide an update on where things stand with the revision of the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP)-EC (Cotonou) Partnership Agreement, including on a future level of EC assistance to ACP States.

  Your Committee previously gave scrutiny clearance to the revisions to the Cotonou Agreement (Document 8704/05) and to the EU Council's position on the adoption of transitional measures to apply most of the changes prior to the entry into force of the revised Agreement (Document 9267/05). My letter dated 7 July 2005[52] updated the Committee following the Parties' signature of the revised Agreement at the ACP-EC Council of Ministers meeting on 25 June.

  The enclosed Proposal (15329/05) amends the existing Internal Agreement (which forms part of the overall Cotonou Agreement) to incorporate the agreed changes to the procedures for conducting political dialogue under Article 8 and for consultations on the essential and fundamental elements under Articles 96 and 97 and the new Article 11b, regarding cooperation in countering the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction. The changes will be transitionally applied from 25 June 2005 until the revised Agreement comes into effect.

  You will have seen that Heads of State and Government agreed in December on a future level of Community financial cooperation with ACP States, to succeed the 9th European Development Fund (EDF), as part of the overall deal on the EC's 2007-2013 Financial Perspectives. This awaits endorsement by the European Parliament. ACP States will be allocated €22,682 million (£15,536 million) in current terms for the period 2008-2013 under the existing inter-governmental EDF framework, therefore meaning a 10th EDF. The UK will contribute 14.82 % of this amount, (€3,361.5 million / £2,302.6 million). Hilary Benn made a short written statement to Parliament on the outcome for ACP States before Christmas; this was published in Hansard on 20 December (Annex A). The Commission will now bring forward a proposal for a new internal financing agreement for a 10th EDF, for the approval of EU Member States.

  The revised Cotonou Agreement, including the updated Internal Agreement and the new internal financing agreement, will need to be ratified by all EU Member States and at least two thirds of ACP States before coming fully into force. As stated previously, these will be laid before Parliament as Command Papers to adhere to UK Parliamentary procedures for ratification.

12 January 2006

Annex A

Extract from House of Commons Hansard Written Ministerial Statement for 20 December 2005

EUROPEAN DEVELOPMENT FUND

  The Secretary of State for International Development (Hilary Benn): The European Council on 15-16 December agreed to establish a 10th European Development Fund (EDF) to provide development assistance to African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries that are signatories to the ACP-EU Partnership (Cotonou) Agreement.

  I am pleased to announce that the 10th EDF will provide €22,682 million (£15,536 million) over the period 2008-13. This is a significant increase on the value of the 9th EDF and the EDF will remain as an EU intergovernmental fund, both important objectives of the UK Government. The UK share of the 10th EDF will be 14.82% rising from a 12.69% share of the 9th EDF, reflecting our recognition of an upward trend in the effectiveness of the Fund, and our commitment to increasing EU assistance to Africa.

  I believe that this represents a good outcome for our ACP partners and I am delighted that the UK Presidency was able to deliver this positive agreement after lengthy negotiations. Member States will now negotiate an intergovernmental agreement on the structure, allocation, programming and management arrangements of the 10th EDF. This will present an opportunity to further enhance the effectiveness of the EDF. I will keep the House informed fully on progress.



52   Correspondence with Ministers, 45th Report of Session 2005-06, HL Paper 243, pp 242-243. Back


 
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