[3rd week May] While criticism has dominated the EU's foreign policy in recent months, positive notes have appeared to prevail in the media last week. Following long negotiations, the first iEPA has come to pass: Four African countries, namely Mauritius, Madagascar, Seychelles and Zimbabwe, will gradually open their markets to European exports over the course of 15 years. The trade and development agreement concluded by the EU and the aforementioned African countries takes effect. “This is excellent news and I salute the hard work of negotiators and colleagues on all sides. With this trade deal we hope to accompany the development of our partners in Eastern and Southern Africa and open up better and lasting business opportunities", praises EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht.
Good news also came out of the Caribbean region, as weeks after the visit of Jolita Butkeviciene, Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of the Directorate General for DEVCO, Guyana’s parliamentarians have unanimously approved a motion ratifying the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). The Pacific region did not go unnoticed either, as the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, Gordon Darcy Lilo, recalled the EU’s role as a “development driver”, and stressed that the EU would remain a key partner. He also noted that through Cotonou’s provisions the Solomons receive substantial assistance in crucial areas of development, such as agriculture or climate change.
In particular, certain countries have been the subject of the headlines. Uganda was one such case, as the EU Delegation in Uganda exchanged views with East African stakeholders...