The Organization of Africa, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), of which The Bahamas is a member, is negotiating a new partnership agreement, called a Post Cotonou Agreement, with the European Commission.
The negotiations were a part of virtual meetings held last week which featured prominently the unilateral action of the European Union (EU) and its publication of a listing of high-level third risk countries due to strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism regimes, according to a statement from The Bahamas’ embassy in Brussels.
The Post Cotonou Agreement would replace the expired 20-year agreement with the European Commission.
“In his opening statement at the virtual 7th Meeting of OACPS-EU Chief Negotiators, Chief Negotiator of the OACPS Robert Dussey, minister of foreign affairs, cooperation and African integration of the Republic of Togo, drew attention to the action of the EU as being “counterproductive to the spirit of partnership and cooperation between the two entities particularly in light of the COVID-19 crisis”,” the statement pointed out.
“He highlighted the lack of response from the EU to correspondence from the secretary general urging a postponement of the listing of countries and appealing for consultations with the countries concerned under the terms of the partnership agreement.”
Echoing those sentiments, Head of Mission to the European Union and Ambassador of The Bahamas to the Kingdom of Belgium Maria O’Brien urged member states to take concrete actions in denouncing the approach taken by the regulatory body that “was not in the spirit of partnership and cooperation consistently promoted by the EU”.
“It was an approach she cited as perpetuating inequality and systemic oppression of the developing countries identified with detrimental human and economic development consequences,” the statement noted.
“Ambassador O’Brien drew attention to the total disregard of the EU to its commitment to dialogue, transparency and integrity as outlined in the terms of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement. The stark divergence and lack of coherent policy between EU entities were presented as evidence of a fragmented EU mechanism which internally needed to be addressed.”
The negotiations are in their final stages, the embassy noted, and it is anticipated that they would be completed by mid-July 2020; while the signing of the new partnership agreement is expected to take place prior to the expiration of the transitional measures and before the end of 2020.