ACP–EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly

ACP States

The ACP–EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly was created to bring together the elected representatives of the European Union (the Members of the European Parliament) and the elected representatives of the African, Caribbean and Pacific states ("ACP countries") that have signed the Cotonou Agreement.

Since the entry into force of the Treaty on European Union and EU enlargement it has acquired a more prominent role. A substantial part of the work of the JPA is directed towards promoting human rights and democracy and the common values of humanity, and this has produced joint commitments undertaken within the framework of the UN conferences.

The Cotonou agreement

Main article: Cotonou Agreement

The following articles of the Cotonou Agreement relate to the Joint Parliamentary Assembly.

Article 14: The joint institutions

The institutions of this Agreement are the Council of Ministers, the Committee of Ambassadors and the Joint Parliamentary Assembly.

Article 17: The Joint Parliamentary Assembly

1. The Joint Parliamentary Assembly shall be composed of equal numbers of EU and ACP representatives. The members of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly shall be, on the one hand, members of the European Parliament and, on the other, members of parliament or, failing this, representatives designated by the parliament of each ACP State. In the absence of a parliament, the attendance of a representative from the ACP State concerned shall be subject to the prior approval of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly.

2. The role of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly, as a consultative body, shall be to:

  • promote democratic processes through dialogue and consultation;
  • facilitate greater understanding between the peoples of the European Union and those of the ACP :States and raise public awareness of development issues;
  • discuss issues pertaining to development and the ACP-EU Partnership;
  • adopt resolutions and make recommendations to the Council of Ministers with a view to achieving the objectives of this Agreement.

3. The Joint Parliamentary Assembly shall meet twice a year in plenary session, alternately in the European Union and in an ACP State. With a view to strengthening regional integration and fostering cooperation between national parliaments, meetings between EU and ACP members of parliament may be arranged at regional or subregional level.

The Joint Parliamentary Assembly shall organise regular contacts with representatives of the ACP-EU economic and social partners and the other actors of civil society in order to obtain their views on the attainment of the objectives of this Agreement.

4. The Joint Parliamentary Assembly shall adopt its rules of procedure within six months of the entry into force of this Agreement.

Composition and working methods

The representatives of the 78 ACP states who, under the Cotonou Agreement, must be members of Parliament, meet their 78 European Parliament counterparts in plenary session for one week twice a year. The Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) meets alternately in an ACP country and an EU country. The institution is governed by common, democratic rules.

Two co-presidents who are elected by the Assembly direct its work. Twenty-four vice-presidents (12 European and 12 ACP) who are also elected by the Assembly constitute the Bureau of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly, together with the two co-presidents. The Bureau meets several times a year in order to ensure the continuity of the work of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly and to prepare new initiatives aimed notably at reinforcing and improving cooperation. It also considers topical political questions and adopts positions on all human rights cases.

Three Standing Committees have been created in 2003 to draw up substantive proposals which are then voted on by the Joint Parliamentary Assembly. These Committees are:

The Assembly regularly forms exploratory or fact-finding missions. The members of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly are thus in direct contact with the situation on the ground in the various developing countries which are signatories of the Cotonou Agreement.

Initiatives taken by the Joint Parliamentary Assembly

The Joint Parliamentary Assembly has made an active contribution towards implementing and reinforcing successive ACP-EU Conventions and has put forward numerous proposals:

  • the upgrading of the role of women in the development process;
  • the integration of environment policy in development projects;
  • promotion of Trade as a tool for development, particularly by way of the Economic Partnership Agreements foreseen in the Cotonou Agreement;
  • the drawing-up of rural development programmes and micro-projects tailored to the needs of specific communities;
  • the improvement of measures aimed at combating epidemics and the reinforcement of health and hygiene services;
  • the creation of decentralized development policies;
  • the convening of annual meetings between economic and social partners;
  • the promotion of regional, political and commercial cooperation;
  • closer cooperation with non-governmental organisations engaged in development;
  • aid for indebted countries pursuing structural adjustment policies to allow them to maintain indispensable services;
  • measures to enhance the cultural dimension in North-South cooperation;
  • the acceleration of aid procedures and the increase in appropriations intended for refugees and for displaced persons (the latter is a new departure);
  • measures to reinforce the commitment to respect and defend human rights and human dignity.

The Co-Presidents

EU members of the assembly

The EU members are all members of the European Parliament.

Adopted resolutions from the March 2008 meeting in Slovenia

The 15th ACP-EU JPA adopted the following resolutions:

Meetings of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly

See also

External links

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