Honourable Co-Presidents, Distinguished members of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly, Ladies and Gentlemen,

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1 Statement by Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, Rolandas Kriščiūnas, as the representative of the President of the Council of the European Union to the 26th session of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly 27 November Addis Ababa Honourable Co-Presidents, Distinguished members of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am very pleased and honoured to participate in the 26 th session of the ACP- EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly at the request of the High Representative, Catherine Ashton and on behalf of the Council of the European Union that Lithuania chairs for the first time of its history. I am also delighted to be the first Lithuanian high ranking official to have the chance to address this honourable assembly. Let me start by saying that the Council values very much your work and listens carefully to your voice which plays a vital role in the ACP-EU partnership is ending soon and it is time to look back on the accomplishments of this year. Tangible progress has been made in our relations while other important challenges remain in In Sahel, a topic that has been discussed several times by your assembly since the beginning of the current crisis, the situation has considerably evolved but recent events on the ground have shown the importance of a global approach in the broader Sahel-Sahara region. The EU Sahel Strategy responds to these challenges. We should not slow down our efforts but rather accelerate the implementation of the strategy. 5 Billion Euros were already 1

2 pledged by the EU for and we will continue to push the international community as a whole to enhance the level of its engagement since needs are tremendous and the threat to regional and global stability remains considerable. I know that Somalia is a topic of particular importance for our host, Ethiopia, but also for the whole region. The "New Deal" conference organised in Brussels in September was an important milestone. Co-hosted by the President of Somalia and High Representative Ashton, it brought together the international community to endorse a compact to support Somalia's reconstruction. The conference also paid attention to the vital role of the troops of AMISOM, the AU Mission in Somalia and Ethiopian forces in providing security in the country. But unfortunately terrorism is still a very present threat as the attack to the mall in Nairobi painfully reminded us. Violent extremism however will not stop the positive trend of the recent years: the EU remains convinced that a new era has begun for the Somali people and we cannot go backward. Important to note also another milestone which was Somalia's accession to the Cotonou Agreement this year. In the Great Lakes Region and Central Africa, a topic you have discussed yesterday at the plenary, let me emphasise the adoption by Council of Strategic Conclusions for the Great Lakes Region in June of this year. It sets out a strategic framework to tackle the unfinished business of peace processes in the region and to address the root causes of violence at regional, national and local level. The document identifies 5 areas where the action is needed as well as lines of a possible EU and Member States intervention. The DRC also continues to be one of the largest recipients of the Commission 2

3 development funds with over 200M /year. We think there is a real opportunity to really stabilise the region and put it on a development path. Your Assembly adopted a resolution last June on the Central African Republic (CAR). The restoration of law, order and security in CAR remains an immediate priority because it further conditions progress on the political level as well as access of humanitarian aid to reach the most vulnerable. The EU is deeply concerned about the continuously deteriorating situation. There is a need for a stronger ownership by the national authorities on the transition process and for speeding up its implementation, notably as regards elections. The EU remains actively engaged to support stabilization, as highlighted by the recent Conclusions of the EU Foreign Affairs Council. The European Commission adopted a 10 Million EUR stabilization program in response to the post-coup crisis and the development portfolio is currently being adapted. DG ECHO already increased twice its aid to reach 20 MEUR, making the Commission the country s main humanitarian aid donor. In the Caribbean region, our relations are inspired by the joint Caribbean- EU Partnership strategy which was adopted by both parties last year and which is meant to take the EU-Caribbean partnership to a more equal and political level, from the traditional donor-recipient context to a framework of mutual benefits where political relations play a major role besides trade and development. The Caribbean is becoming a very significant partner in security related issues and in global and multilateral issues such as, for instance, climate change. The implementation of the CARIFORUM-EU EPA progresses steadily. 3

4 In the Pacific, Commissioner Hedegaard at the Pacific Islands Forum in Majuro in September this year highlighted the need to jointly combat the effects of climate change. We remain committed to assist the region in building resilience to climate change and natural disasters, protect its unique biodiversity while sustainably develop its natural resources. We look towards the Pacific and the Small Islands Developing States conference in Samoa. As next year will also bring important democratic electoral decisions in countries such as Fiji and Solomon Islands, we aim to strengthen and develop our partnership, firmly grounded on shared values, through enhanced political dialogue and increased cooperation in multilateral fora. Honourable Members, 2014 will be an important year in the ACP-EU relations. It is an electoral year for the European Parliament and it will bring in a new European Commission. Before then, in April 2014, the 4th Africa-EU Summit will take place in Brussels. We attach great importance to this summit which will demonstrate the value and potential of our partnership. It will be a unique opportunity to give new momentum to our relations, intensify cooperation on all levels, boost economic cooperation and trade and identify how sustainable growth can be more effective in creating jobs for the population and for the youth in particular in both continents. You are also invited to contribute ideas to the focus and outcomes of the summit, at the very heart of which will be people, peace and prosperity. On the development financing front the bridging facility which will ensure the availability of funds between the 10 th and 11 th EDF will start on 1 st January. The Lithuanian presidency, EU Member States, the EEAS and the 4

5 European Commission have worked a lot during this second semester on several important legal acts allowing a rapid entry into force of the 11 th EDF. The so called "bridging facility" has been prepared and will be adopted early in December to continue EU cooperation for the period between the 10th EDF and the effective entry into force of the 11th EDF. We are now in the second phase of National Programming. The EU Delegations have discussed with the National Authorising Officer the proposed EU approach in defining its response to country needs, priorities and objectives. We are currently studying the draft National Indicative Programmes. Discussions on the sectors with the ACP countries in the Programming seminars have already taken place and will continue throughout the year. We hope to start signing the first National Indicative Programmes during Spring On the Regional Programming, the draft programming orientations, presenting a new approach for the regional cooperation, were shared with the Duly Mandated Regional Organisations and the specific priorities per regional programme will be discussed with ACP countries and regions in their respective programming seminars. We need to forge stronger alliances on new challenges as it has been the case this year when we have prepared and presented together the ACP-EU Joint declaration at the second United Nations High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development. Reinforced cooperation with our ACP partners on this matter and especially on smuggling of migrants is of key importance for the EU and continues to be so also next year. We are already working jointly to avoid such tragedies as what happened recently in Lampedusa in the future. 5

6 Preparation for the third revision of Cotonou Agreement should normally start this year. The Commission and the EEAS are currently assessing with the Council and the Member States whether it is opportune to proceed to this 3rd revision. A position should be taken after examining carefully the value added of such a revision, given the likelihood that it would come into force only shortly before expiry of the Agreement. Discussions will continue with our ACP partners in order that a final decision can be reached. It is clear that the EU-ACP relations need to be forward-looking. Over the years there have been evolutions and new developments on both sides. In this context, the expiry of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement in 2020 provides us with the opportunity to re-examine our relationship and decide what kind of arrangement will suit us both for the future. The question for us is not whether but how we will continue our partnership with ACP countries. The EU has not yet adopted any position on the post Cotonou framework after 2020 but we welcome the launching of reflections on the ACP side and are very much willing to be closely associated to that process. Reflection within the EU institutions has just started. An Inter-service group between EEAS and Commission staff on the future of Cotonou has been created. Its reflections will feed into the next phase of internal discussions, which will include among others wider informal consultations with the European Parliament. In this context, the JPA s own reflections on the future of Cotonou will provide important input for our reflections. 6

7 Honourable Members, coming from a country where independence and democracy has been restored in 1990 after 50 years under soviet rule, I know from my own experience the importance of democracy and parliament as one of its guardians. Also I believe, the changes undergone by Lithuania and other EU Member states in institutional, economic and social sectors could be a source of ideas, knowledge and methodology for our ACP partners. We are ready to share our experience with any state or society in transition. The ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly established by the Cotonou Agreement is an example for partnership, not only because it gathers members of the European Parliament and of the National Parliaments of the ACP States, but also by the variety of topics it discusses. The Assembly contributes immensely to the debate at a time when accountability and visibility of decisions are crucial to their legitimity. I look forward to a genuinely rich and interesting exchange of views today on how we can further reinforce our partnership. 7

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