- Cape Verde will not be a party to the future Economic Partnership Accord (EPA) currently in preparation between the European Union (EU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Cape Verde has opted to negotiate its own EPA directly with Brussels.
The announcement was made Monday morning by Cape Verde's Minister of the Economy, Growth and Competitiveness, João Pereira Silva, at the opening of a seminar aimed at presenting the results of a study on the impact of the future EU/ECOWAS accord on the Cape Verdean economy.
"The government of Cape Verde has already made the decision not to be participate in the accord to be signed within the framework of the ECOWAS," affirmed the government minister, indicating that the country will attempt a "solo" solution.
This option is, indeed, made available by the documents that frame cooperative relations between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (collectively known as the ACP), and, although it is somewhat difficult to materialise, Silva believes it is "not an impossible task."
Difficulties, said the cabinet minister, will exist in any circumstances, with the most sensitive issues, such as the liberalisation of trade, would have to be discussed "in both cases."
The results of the study presented at the seminar support the option taken by the government, and João Pereira Silva said he hoped the debate would produce "technical arguments" that will help sustain the decision made.
The Minister of the Economy, Growth and Competitiveness hinted that the Praia government had pondered all of the possible advantages and disadvantages of Cape Verde's inclusion in a regional EU/ECOWAS Economic Partnership Accord, coming to the conclusion that the latter weighed more heavily in the decision that was ultimately made.
During the opening of the seminar, which is aimed at gathering suggestions and information for the enrichment of the study in question, João Pereira Silva acknowledged that the issue of relations between Cape Verde and the ECOWAS is a sensitive one in Cape Verdean society, but encouraged participants to analyzs it "without taboos".
The study of the impact on the Cape Verdean economy of a future EPA with the EU within the framework on the ECOWAS encourages a "solo" solution, considering that Cape Verde possesses "all of the structural conditions" necessary for the option.
The recommendation is founded on two main axes seen as competitive advantages - namely, Cape Verde's Human Development Index, which is considerably higher than that of the other ECOWAS member countries, and its geo-strategic position.
The document also highlights the usefulness Cape Verde can represent to the EU "from a strategic point of view," and stresses other advantages of political, economic, social and cultural nature that could contribute toward transforming the country into "a model of the circulation economy" within the geopolitical context of the Atlantic.
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