Negotiations began in Brussels on Monday (18 September) on a new accord to replace the Lome Convention.
Negotiations began in Brussels on Monday (18 September) on a new accord to replace the Lome Convention. The Convention is a trade and aid agreement linking the European, Economic Community (EEC) with fifty-four African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. It expires on March the first, 1980.
SYNOPSIS: Delegates gather for the talks on the Manhattan Centre, Brussels. The Lome Convention was described by one EEC commissioner as the first experimental step which was -- successful though limited -- towards a new international economic order. Negotiations for the new agreement first began last July, when ACP and Common Market foreign ministers met in Brussels.
In July, ministers differed sharply about the new agreement. ACP countries called for basic changes, but the Community said present arrangements are sound, and need only slight modifications. Among the most prickly issues is human rights. Some Common Market countries, notably Britain, advocate giving aid only to countries where basic human rights are observe. But some community members are not as adamant and the ACP countries have rejected this approach.
The talks are expected to last eight months. The ACP countries seek a big increase in the so-called `stabex" fund, from which they can claim compensation for earnings lost through floods, hurricanes, and other disasters. They especially want the fund broadened to cover exports of minerals. These countries are worried by signs that the Community would like to toughen their restrictions, making it easier for them to limit the import of sensitive industrial and semi-manufactured goods from ACP nations.