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By Pita Ligaiula in Apia, Samoa
Just days after the Pacific ACP Leaders expressed disappointment in their inability to draw down the 11th European Development Fund (EDF), the region has signed two programmes with the European Union (EU) Wednesday.
Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Dame Meg Taylor earlier this week said the region has witnessed in recent months, a redistribution of funds within the regional indicative programme.
Head of the European delegation to the Pacific, Ambassador Andrew Jacobs emphasised that although it’s taken time to access the funds it it’s important to get good quality programmes.
“We’ve have just signed two agreements from the 11th EDF regional indicative programme, we will sign another major 35 EU programme in a few weeks times in Malta, so certainly it’s been some time to prepare some of the programmes but they going ahead.
“We believe that it is important to get good quality programmes that really respond to the challenges of the region which is why it worth taking the time to perfect as much as we can and this is a result of our labour,” Ambassador Jacobs said while responding to concerns from PACP leaders.
Director of Asia, Pacific at the EU Commissions for International Cooperation and Development, Pierre Amilhat admitted the frustration of the region to access the 11th EDF funds.
“Yes you’ve absolutely right frustration exists and we shouldn’t hide from it. Having said that it has been a slow start. It’s a seven years financial access funds and we have taken time to start.
“We’ve talking about it. I think we’ve been frankly discussing it. We are on the way now for all the programme to be implemented and in full speed. There is also a need for certain maturity in mutual expectations and I’m fully confident that with very good implementing partners here, these programmes will be implemented quickly.
“Frankly what it is important is not the signatures and the money, what it is important is the result of this programme and frankly I know it’s frustrating when it its slow but maybe if we take a little bit longer and produce good results in the end,” Amilhat told journalists in Apia.
Amilhat held discussion with Pacific Leaders at the margins of the Forum Leaders Meeting on priorities and modalities to best organise future relations when the current Cotonou Agreement expires in 2020.
He also said the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) is not part of the Cotonou discussion.
“EPA it is a pillar of post Cotonou.
“Trade used to be a part of our overall agreement with ACP countries but someone invented World Trade Organisation (WTO) and it was not complying with WTO, so trade preferences gradually being out and it is something that is no longer granting preferences.
“EPA is not part of the Cotonou discussion and it is another discussion you know the complexities of it and I don’t think this is the place to start discussion on this,” Amilhat said
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