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Monday, 24 May 2010

Council conclusions: EPA development programme

The Council adopted conclusions on the EPA development programme for the West African region. In the framework of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy and of its partnership with the African Union, the European Union emphasises in particular regional integration as being instrumental in securing peace, stability and sustainable development. It thus welcomes the efforts which West African countries and regional institutions have made to further strengthen their regional integration. The EU believes that stepping up the process of integration in West Africa should involve the integration of regional markets, going hand-in-hand with gradually opening up domestic markets to the rest of the region and the wider world. It welcomes the region's commitment to
negotiating an Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU, which was restated at the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government summit of February 2010. The EU strives for a timely conclusion of the EPA negotiations in 2010. The EU accordingly welcomes West African efforts to identify development aid needs in these areas and to organise them within the EPA Development Programme (PAPED). It believes the PAPED will provide a useful response to the challenges of regional integration and implementation of the EPA and help the region to derive full benefit from the opportunities provided by the EPA, notably in terms of supply response to the improved access to the European markets.

Source: Council of the European Union