EC aid to ACP countries for the period 2008-2013 is financed by the European Development Fund (EDF) 10. The use of these funds is currently being planned through discussion and negotiation. Formally, ratification should be completed by the end of 2007 to allow EDF 10 funds to be available in 2008. This requires ratification by all member States. The Commission is pushing for ratification to meet this deadline so as to avoid a “funding gap” since funds from the 9th EDF will be fully committed by the end of the year.
The new funding differs from the previous 9th EDF in terms of:
• an enhanced focus by the EDF management committee on strategic issues,
• the establishment of a framework for co-financing that will be further elaborated in the financial regulation,
• special management procedures for the Peace Facility,
• increased possibilities for regional co-operation including between the ACPs and outermost regions,
• the introduction of a programming of the intra-ACP envelope and the emphasis of the principle of coordination between the Member States and other donors.
For the 10th EDF to enter into force, the Council has to adopt both an implementing regulation and a financial regulation. In addition, for the 10th EDF to enter into force, the changes to the Cotonou Agreement adopted in 2005 by the EU and ACP also need to be finalized. This requires ratification by all EU Member States and two-thirds of the ACP states. Three internal agreements relating to these changes also need to be ratified by all EU Member States.
• The revision of the ACP-EC Partnership Agreement, signed in Luxembourg on 25.6.2005,
• The internal agreement amending the internal agreement of 18.9.2000 regarding the implementation of the ACP-EC Partnership Agreement, signed in Luxembourg on 10.4.2006
• The internal agreement of the financing of Community aid to the ACP and the OCT for the period 2008-2013, signed in Brussels on 17.7.2006
The Member States are therefore being urged to ensure a rapid ratification of the above three documents and to set up, if necessary, appropriate fast track procedures, in order to ensure a smooth continuation of financial cooperation with the ACP after the end of 2007.
In addition, despite clear concerns from ACP countries (see related story) on the level of consultations and identified sectors for aid in the Country Strategy Papers being expressed at the meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly in Wiesbaden, European Commissioner for DG Development Louis Michel reiterated that he will “ensure that (ratification) happens or everything will lose its true meaning”.
As of June 2007, only 14 of the 78 ACP countries and 8 of the 15 Member States have signed the ratification. The 10th EDF can only enter into force upon the ratification of two-thirds of ACP countries and all Member States.