The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah, has asked the membership of the African, Caribbean and Pacific European Union Commission (ACP-EU) to strengthen unity in purpose to achieve its objectives.
Oulanyah said from discussions in the ongoing Assembly meeting that there is apparent discord, which he asked member countries to address.
“This is hardly the time to show doubt in where we want to go, this is hardly the time to sow seeds of discord,” said Oulanyah.
“We don’t want to be in a situation where we perform traditional dances of one step forward and three steps backward. These tendencies are still there,” said Oulanyah, also Chairperson of the Assembly’s Standing Committee on Political Affairs.
Oulanyah was addressing a session that is currently considering proposed reforms to the Assembly, and is a precursor to the 35th session of ACP–EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly scheduled to take place from 18th to 20th June 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.
The Assembly, with a membership of 79, is drawn from Members of Parliament from member countries, with Oulanyah representing Uganda.
Oulanyah also expressed reservations on plans to expand the Assembly’s membership to accommodate opposition MPs from member countries, saying the Assembly is composed of representatives of member states and should not be used to replicate domestic political contestations.
The ACP-EU came into being following a 2000 agreement signed by then 78 member countries from Africa, Caribbean, Pacific and the European Union in Cotonou, Benin’s capital.
Article 1 of the agreement is a statement of the Assembly’s objective.
“The “Parties” hereby conclude this Agreement in order to promote and expedite the economic, cultural and social development of the ACP States, with a view to contributing to peace and security and to promoting a stable and democratic political environment,” partly reads the agreement.