Ministers have recently endorsed the approach outlined by the presidency for a comprehensive review of the EU's generalised scheme of tariff preferences (GSP) for developing countries. The review of the GSP is aimed at adapting the system to the changed global landscape and making it more efficient, better responding therefore to the specific needs of the beneficiary countries. It agreed on a compromise focusing on five key areas in the Commission's proposal: country coverage;preference margins and product coverage; product graduation; "GSP+" (special incentive for sustainable development and good governance); and special safeguards.
Environment (ENVI) Committee calls for greater political attention to environmental preservation and restoration in a recent resolution. Given that the EU has failed to meet its 2010 biodiversity targets, MEPs also suggest that EU policies bring biodiversity targets on board, in addition to naming and subsequently phasing out environmentally harmful subsidies.
During the course of the 27th session of the ACP Parliamentary Assembly, which was held this week, ACP Secretary General, H.E Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas recalled the announcement of the European Commission (EC), which stated that countries that did not finalise an EPA would not longer benefit from free market access to Europe as of 1st January, 2014. “It is a matter of regret that the EU has imposed such a unilateral deadline which seems in opposition to the letter and very spirit of our time-tested relationship. Even worrisome is the fact that they seem to be imposing terms that some economists even in Europe are decrying as being above even what the WTO would be prepared to impose,” he stated.
The Agriculture and Fisheries Council has recently adopted a decision authorising the Commission to open negotiations on behalf of the EU for a new protocol to the fisheries partnership agreement with the Republic of Kiribati.
According to a new report commissioned by the Caribbean Community (Caricom) Secretariat-based EPA Implementation Unit, the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) of the ACP Group provides a comprehensive framework to improve the flow of investments between the two parties.