EPA negotiations: West African civil society urges ECOWAS to reject proposed regional market liberalization offer

By Sanna Camara

The West African civil society has called on the Council of Ministers of ECOWAS upon its just ended 70th ordinary session in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, to reject the proposed 75% regional market liberalization offer being made by the European Union.

In a press communiqué issued yesterday, the society said it strongly believes that the sacrifices made by the West Africa region to get closer to the EU positions must be proportional to the efforts made by the EU to reach the same goal.

“But so far, it is abundantly manifest that the EU has been unwillingness to do so, sticking to its legal certainty, its economic dogmatism and its lack of political flexibility which go against the notion of respectful partnership and the tenets of Special and Differential Treatment of the WTO,” the communiqué said.

Guilty of being the main gravedigger

By using pressure and threats as a strategy to respond to its partners’ legitimate concerns, The West Africa civil society said “the EU Commission is guilty of being the main gravedigger in the partnership between Europe and West Africa.”

The communiqué adds that the Council of Ministers must note that the 75% liberalization of the West African market is not sustainable for the 11 Least Developed Countries and the 4 developing countries which constitute the region.

Regional integration seriously threatened

“West Africa regional integration is being seriously threatened. And the signature of an unbalanced and destructive EPA must not be the price to pay to preserve our hard earned integration process,” it argued.

The disintegration of West Africa due to the non-conclusion of the EPA, according to the society, is not an acceptable option.

“And the signature of a bad agreement in order to save the regional integration is not the solution either,” it posited.

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