On behalf of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Policy and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, MFA Under-Secretary of State for Development Cooperation Krzysztof Stanowski took part in the 22nd session of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, held in Lomé from 21 to 23 November 2011.
The debates of representatives from 78 African, Caribbean and Pacific states and from the European Parliament focused on the impact of debt on development financing in ACP countries, the food crisis in the Horn of Africa (especially in Somalia), the impact of the Arab Spring on neighbouring Sub-Saharan states, the inclusion of persons with disabilities in developing countries, as well as on the impact of the Treaty of Lisbon on the ACP-EU Partnership. Other issues on the agenda included the potential fallout from the current financial crisis on the EU development aid process, the democratic transformation process in Togo and the future partnership between the EU and the ACP signatories of the Cotonou Agreement. The Parliamentary Assembly adopted resolutions on the impact of debt on development financing in ACP countries, on the food crisis in the Horn of Africa (especially in Somalia), and on the impact of the Arab Spring on neighbouring Sub-Saharan states.
In his speech, Minister Stanowski spoke of the key role of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly as a platform for dialogue, cooperation based on partnership and building constructive policies among EU and ACP states to counteract problems caused by today's local, regional and global challenges. In this context, Minister Stanowski pointed to the crisis situation in the Horn of Africa and the regional consequences of the Arab Spring. He confirmed that the shall EU respect its obligations vis-à-vis ACP states, regardless of the current eurozone crisis. Minister Stanowski also referred to selected tasks on the Polish Presidency's agenda, including work carried out on the evaluation of aid offered by the EU in the framework of the 10th edition of the European Development Fund, progress in terms of work on the next edition of this support instrument - the seminar on the development strategy for Africa using the experiences of the new EU Member States, co-organized in July of this year by the Polish Parliament, the Association of Europeans Parliamentarians for Africa (AWEPA) and the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the 4th High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness which took place in Busan between 29 November and 1 December 2011.
Minister Krzysztof Stanowski also provided detailed answers to a series of questions, including on EU development aid in the framework of the upcoming editions of the European Development Fund, the state and perspectives of trade cooperation in the framework of the EPAs (Economic Partnership Agreements) under negotiation and the WTO requirements, as well as planned regulations on access to the EU market, progress in global negotiations on climate change and the expected outcome of the COP17 in Durban, progress on ratifying the Cotonou Agreement and on the future EU-ACP partnership, EU policies to support the sustainable development of cities, infrastructure development and to increase developing countries' access to energy sources. Minister Stanowski's statements were very positively received, in particular with regard to his stance on protecting political prisoners in Eritrea.