White banners were draped across public buildings in much of Europe during 2005 as an unlikely coalition of celebrities, church groups and trade unionists took part in the Make Poverty History campaign. The Group of Eight (G8) top industrialised countries and the European Union responded by promising to double their aid to Africa by 2010 at a summit in Gleneagles, Scotland.
Trade deal negotiations between the EU and African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) countries ended in a mess, writes Glenys Kinnock, Labour Party Member of the European Parliament. In this article, Kinnock writes that from the outset the European Commission negotiators approached the talks as if they were conventional free-trade area negotiations rather than tools for development. Now is the time for the EU to put development priorities back at the heart of the issue. There has to be a more participatory approach, more transparency, respect, and understanding for ACP regional and national interests. We urgently need a further opening of EU markets to ACP products, particularly agricultural products, which are the main exports for ACP countries. We must also ensure that the EC doesn\'t pressure ACP countries to liberalise services, investment, and government procurement, or to strengthen intellectual property rights or the inclusion of competition rules within EPAs. These EU-ACP trade agreements are absolutely critical to the future of the poorest countries in the world. We must ensure they are a genuine force for development.