ACP–EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly
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
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.
EU members of the assembly
The EU members are all members of the European Parliament.
- EU Members of the ACP EU JPA From www.europarl.europa.eu
Adopted resolutions from the March 2008 meeting in Slovenia
The 15th ACP-EU JPA adopted the following resolutions:
- on experiences from the European regional integration process relevant to ACP countries
- on food security issues in ACP countries and the role of ACP-EU cooperation
- on the social and environmental consequences of structural adjustment programmes
- on the situation in Kenya
Meetings of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly
- December 2010 Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
- March 2010 Tenerife, Spain
- November 2009 Luanda, Angola
- March 2009 Prague, The Czech Republic
- November 2008 Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
- March 2008 Ljubljana, Slovenia
- November 2007 Kigali, Rwanda 14th Session of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly
- June 2007 Wiesbaden, Germany
- November 2006 Bridgetown, Barbados
- June 2006 Vienna
- November 2005 Edinburgh
- April 2005 Bamako, Mali
- November 2004 The Hague
- February 2004 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
- October 2003 Rome
- March 2003 Brazzaville
- November 2002 Brussels
- March 2002 Cape Town, South Africa
- October 2001 Brussels
- March 2001 Libreville, Gabon
- October 2000 Brussels
- European Development Fund
- ACP-EU Development Cooperation
- Foreign relations of the European Union
- The Courier (ACP-EU) : The magazine of Africa-Caribbean-Pacific and European Union cooperation and relations
- ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly
- The secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, part of the ACP-EU JPA co-secretariat
- The secretariat of the European Parliament, part of the ACP-EU JPA co-secretariat
- Website on the EU Country & Regional Programming to ACP countries
- The ACP Local Government Platform
- European Parliament meeting with ACP The EPP-DE TV
- Deal on Economic Partnership Agreements expected at ACP-EU talks
- EUX TV programmes from the 15th assembly
- Documents relating to the ACP–EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly be consulted at the Historical Archives of the European Union in Florence