On the 23rd of June 2015 CONCORD was invited by the European Parliament Committee on Development to present its views on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) the European Union is negotiating with West Africa.

This shows that our advocacy on our recent EPA position paper (first Spotlight paper of this year) is paying off.

Evert-Jan Brouwer from Woord en Daad (NL) and EU-CORD, co-author of the EPA position paper, spoke on behalf of CONCORD. He underlined the risks that the EPA could have on West Africa local development and the critics from Civil Society groups in West Africa itself about it.

The EPA would mean no more import duties and this would imply huge losses of tariff revenues which West African countries are highly dependent on. It would also have disastrous effects on local production by allowing European competitive finished products to enter the African market.

CONCORD advocates that people from West Africa should have the space for developing their own trade policy and advises the European Parliament not to vote in favour of the EPA.

Members of the European Parliament are divided, with the EPP majority political group being in favour of the EPA that they see as a win-win development friendly tool. Decision in the Parliament is postponed until all Western African government concerned ratify the EPA. After the EP, all national parliaments will also have to ratify the EPA. Therefore, there is still time to mobilize and influence the votes.