The Minister of State for Trade and Development Mr. Joe Costello TD, representing the European Union, co-chaired the 38th Session of the ACP-EU Council of Ministers in Brussels on 6-7 June. The Council, which meets on an annual basis, is composed of representatives from over 70 African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States as well as representatives of EU Member States and the European Commission.
Ministers reached an historic agreement on a package of financial assistance to ACP States for the next seven years totalling 31.5 billion euro. Minister Costello, welcoming the agreement, said “the level of funding which the EU is providing demonstrates our continued commitment to the African Caribbean and Pacific countries and will underpin the relationship as we move towards a period of reflection on what the shape of the ACP-EU relationship will be after 2020 when the current Cotonou Agreement expires”.
The Council also welcomed a request from Somalia for accession to the ACP-EU partnership Agreement. Minister Costello commented that the decision in relation to Somalia’s accession “opens a new chapter in relations between the EU and Somalia and constitutes a visible sign that Somalia has regained its status as a fully-fledged member of the international community.”
Minister Costello - "We have formed strong global partnerships, including through our support for the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement and advocacy for good nutrition in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life from pregnancy to the age of two, a critical window for growth and development”
Minister Costello addressed the Joint Ministerial Council on the issue of Food and Nutrition Security which has been a central focus of the Irish Presidency of the EU Council. The Minister highlighted the success of the major international conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Climate Change which was held in Dublin in April and the adoption by the May Foreign Affairs Council of a new EU policy to tackle hunger and under-nutrition in the developing world. Minister Costello said “Ireland has been recognised as a strong leader in the international community in the fight against global hunger and under-nutrition. We have formed strong global partnerships, including through our support for the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement and advocacy for good nutrition in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life from pregnancy to the age of two, a critical window for growth and development”
Following on from the recent endorsement by EU Development Ministers of a common EU approach to the new global development framework which will replace the Millennium Development Goals after the target date for their achievement in 2015, Minister Costello welcomed the opportunity for continuing dialogue with ACP partners on this issue and commented “having developed our common position, the EU now looks forward to working with ACP partners on progressing towards an agreed approach on the post 2015 global development framework”.
Other issues discussed by Ministers during the two day Council included trade cooperation, migration and development and support for private sector development in ACP countries .