21 May 2016 12:40pm
By Maggy Thomas
WINDHOEK, 21 MAY (NAMPA) - Namibia has something fantastic to show to the rest of the world which is peacefulness and stability, European Union (EU) Ambassador to Namibia Jana Hybaskova says.
We had many conferences in Africa with African Union (AU) members about migration, among others issues, where people meet in a very stressful situation, so Windhoek was chosen as a kind of safety and security. What we do expect is strategic thinking to happen here, she said in an interview with Nampa recently ahead of the annual African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) and EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA), which will take place here from 13 to 15 June.
About 350 Parliamentarians from 28 EU countries and 79 ACP countries are expected to attend.
Hybaskova explained that the relationships between ACP and EU countries are organised by the Cotonou Agreement and this agreement will expire in 2020.
So we need strategic thinking to plan what to do next and how shall ACP people organise their trade, their democratic relations, their diplomatic relations and their environmental relations in future with the EU, she said.
The Cotonou Agreement is a treaty between the EU and ACP countries aimed at the reduction and eventual eradication of poverty, while contributing to sustainable development and to the gradual integration of ACP countries into the world economy.
The EU diplomat added that ACP countries are experiencing a very difficult period in the 21st century, which is marked by events such as migration, decline of the prices of commodities, terrorism, all kinds of changes in global security and all kinds of changes in global trade, which deeply affect the citizens daily lives.
Europe, on the other hand, is challenged by more than 55 million internally displaced people and migrants.
Hybaskova further said the joint parliamentary session is an opportunity to showcase Namibia as one of the very successful examples of African development.
This joint session has a very deep psychological meaning, where European lawmakers will see that Africa is not only a threat, but Africa is an enormous opportunity, she indicated.
On his part, Speaker of the National Assembly, Professor Peter Katjavivi said Namibia is extremely honoured to host the various parliaments.
When people come together, especially lawmakers, there is going to be a great exchange of views and this can only enhance the delivery of collaboration that exist between the ACP and EU member states, he said.
The 31st Session of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly will provide lawmakers an opportunity to start discussing the future of the ACP-EU partnership post Cotonou.
The Cotonou Agreement was signed in June 2000 in Cotonou, Benin by 78 ACP countries, except Cuba, and 15 member states of the EU.
The JPA will among others discuss topics such as a continental free trade area for Africa; migration between ACP and EU member states; the impact of the drop in oil prices and other strategic commodities on the ACP economies; improving participatory governance through decentralisation and strengthening local governance; as well as the changing face of conflict and global security threats.