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Wednesday, 19 September 2012

EPA issue prompts discussion at the 5th EU-SA Summit

As we reported earlier this week, leaders at the 5th European Union-South Africa Summit met to discuss a series of key issues such as the global economic situation, climate change, trade, development cooperation, and peace and security issues in Africa and the Middle East. However, the talks quickly turned to the topic of EPA negotiations.  In particular, the SA President, Jacob Zuma, urged  EU leaders to break the deadlock with the 15 nations of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)."[S]everal key issues in the EPA negotiations remain still to be resolved", he stressed.
Mr. Zuma called upon the EU for more understanding and flexibility, as he thought that the ‘EPA’ state of affairs is “indeed unsustainable”. From the EU side, the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso said the South African side had the sincere commitment to reach an agreement. Both sides seemed to hope progress in the next round of talks, which is set to take place late this year.
The EU is South Africa's largest trading partner - accounting for nearly a third of the country's trade in 2010 - and also its most important donor, providing some 70 percent of aid in what is the EU's largest bilateral envelope.

Source: CTA/Brecoder