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Working Document
Agreed minutes of the meeting of the SADC-EU joint steering Committee 20 June 2005 Johannesburg, South Africa

Date of release : 24-06-2005

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

1. Opening Statements

The meeting of the SADC-EU Joint Steering Committee (JSC) took place in Johannesburg, South Africa on 20 June 2005.  The meeting was co-chaired by Mr. Dev Phokeer, Assistant Director in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Regional Cooperation of Mauritius and Ambassador Alain de Muyser, Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Luxembourg currently holding the European Union Presidency.  The SADC Double Troika and the EU Troika; as well as the SADC Secretariat attended the meeting.

The list of participants is attached as Annex 1.

The meeting adopted the Agenda with amendments as set out in Annex 2.

2. Recent Developments in the two Regions

2.1   European Union

The EU briefed the meeting on recent developments including the continuing enlargement, the European Constitution and the priorities for the UK presidencies of the EU and the G8.

On enlargement, the meeting noted in addition to the current 25 Member States, Bulgaria and Romania have signed in May 2005 their accession treaty and it is foreseen that they become full members by 1 January 2007.  The opening of negotiations with Turkey is currently under review with a decision to be taken in October 2005.  Croatia has also applied for membership and the opening of negotiations will be decided in due time.

Ten EU Member States have ratified the EU Constitution and two Member States have rejected it through referenda. The EU informed that the recent European Council had decided on a period of reflection for Member States that had not yet ratified to adapt their timetables accordingly and had agreed to come back to the subject in the first half of 2006. 

The UK informed the meeting that Africa and climate change are the priorities for its presidencies of the EU and the G8.  In the context of Africa it was noted that the UK will focus on capacity building and support of African institutions; peace keeping, good governance and human rights.

2.2 SADC

The SADC side briefed the meeting on recent developments in the region including the restructuring of SADC institutions; consolidation of democracy including elections and the political situation in the region.

On restructuring the meeting noted that additional institutions had been established (Integrated Committee of Ministers and SADC National Committees).  The Secretariat is in the process of operationalising the Regional Integrated Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) and Strategic Indicative Plan for the Organ (SIPO).

The Secretariat is undergoing organisational restructuring with new units and positions that will allow it to grow in response to the implementation of the RISDP and increased responsibilities.  The process of recruiting the necessary staff has commenced with the first phase to be completed in December 2005.

Congratulating SADC on its 25th anniversary, the EU welcomed these important developments.

The meeting also noted that Seychelles had withdrawn from SADC and that two countries have applied for membership of SADC.  Madagascar has been granted Candidate Membership for one year. The full membership status will be considered in August 2005, along with Rwanda’s application for membership.

SADC is committed to the “Guidelines and Principles Governing Democratic Elections�?, adopted by the last SADC Summit in Mauritius.  Since the last meeting of the EU-SADC Double Ministerial Troika, Namibia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe have held Parliamentary and/or Presidential elections.  SADC deployed election observers to these elections. These Guidelines and Principles have been followed for these elections. There is still room for improvement which SADC is following up. The EU offered to assist in any review of these Guidelines and Principles. Furthermore, the EU reiterated its position on the elections in Zimbabwe. 

The meeting noted that Parliamentary and/or Presidential elections will be held in Mauritius and the United Republic of Tanzania during 2005 and that Angola and the DRC will follow in 2006. It was noted that this would be the first time in many years that elections will be held in DRC and that the electorate will require voter education in the process.  The Guidelines and Principles are expected to be of particular value in this regard.

Since the last meeting of the JSC it was noted that there had been a number of developments in the area of peace and security; Twelve out of the thirteen Member States had signed the Mutual Defence Pact and are in the process of ratifying this agreement. SADC military planners and civilians counterparts have met extensively over the past year and progress has been made towards finalizing arrangements for the SADC elements of the African standby force. SADC member states have established national early warning systems and measures are underway for setting up the SADC regional early warning system, which is to feed into the African Union System.

As regards the DRC, the 2004 Summit in Mauritius mandated the Chair of the Organ to analyse the situation in the DRC and prepare recommendations for reinforcing the process of stabilization.  The present focus is on the integration of the various military elements and in this respect SADC and the DRC are working together with a number of EU partners. Both sides took note of the efforts of the EU in respect of Security Sector Reform (SSR) and Demobilisation, Disarmament and Reintegration (DDR) in DRC.

The meeting was briefed on the establishment of the SADC Standby Brigade and was advised that the region will, to a large extent, meet the June 2005 benchmarks set by the AU.

SADC reported that the Host Agreement for the Regional Peace Keeping Training Centre had been signed with Zimbabwe and that the SADC Heads of State and Government had approved the structure and SADC Council of Ministers have approved the budget for its operations.

SADC appealed to the EU to expedite the release of the funds to the RPTC in order to conclude the construction of infrastructure and hold crucial courses for the SADC Standby Force. In this regard the EU recalled that SADC should submit a project proposal on the funding of the RPTC to the European Commission.

3. Matters Arising out of the EU-SADC Ministerial Troika Meeting in The Hague, Netherlands on 20 October 2004

3.1   Peace and Security

The meeting noted that the situation in the region remains stable. With respect to the Great Lakes, a conference took place in Dar-es-Salaam in November 2004.  A wide range of issues was addressed including the causes of instability and recommendations were drawn for the promotion of sustainable peace throughout the region. Taking note of the ongoing work, both sides underlined the need to work together towards a successful outcome of the second ministerial conference to be held in Nairobi in November 2005.

With respect to the African Peace Facility, the EU Commission informed the meeting of the envelope of € 35 Million is available for capacity building measures that can be used by the Regional Economic Communities (RECs). To access these funds, RECs will have to submit project proposals to the AU Commission.

In relation to peace and security, both sides further underlined the need to continue to address the questions of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the involvement of children and women in conflict and the issues of HIV/AIDS.

3.2   Governance

The UK briefed the meeting on the main conclusions and recommendations of the Commission for Africa and highlighted the importance of governance and democracy, transparency and accountability, and issues relating to human rights.

The EU reiterated its concerns about the situations in Swaziland and Zimbabwe and stated that it will continue to follow closely the situation in both countries. On Zimbabwe, the EU expressed concern on the humanitarian situation especially following “Operation Clean Sweep and Restore Order�?.

3.3 Regional integration and Trade

SADC informed the meeting on the priorities following the adoption of the RISDP and SIPO.  The priorities are trade and economic liberalization; macroeconomic convergence; harmonization of taxation and investment policies and infrastructure development.  In addition issues relating to Statistics, HIV and AIDS and Food Security will also be prioritized.

The meeting noted that there has been good progress in the SADC-EU EPA negotiations. The EU recalled the need for clarification on the issue of configuration.

SADC has recently finalized the Mid-Term Review (MTR) of the SADC Protocol on Trade and informed the meeting that following the MTR comprehensive impact studies will be undertaken to assess options, for furthering the process of establishing a customs union.

3.4 Development

Both sides took note that the European Council has agreed on a new collective target of 0,56% ODA/GNI for 2010 as a further step to reach 0,7% ODA/GNI in 2015 and that the revised Cotonou Agreement would be signed in Luxembourg on 25 June 2005.

The meeting was advised that programming and project identification for the 9th EDF Regional Indicative Programme has progressed and that Financing Proposals for the totality of the envelope will have been submitted by the end of 2006.

The EU Commission reported that the Mid-Term Review of the RIP is on going and a decision on the appropriateness of the strategy and the resources available will be taken in October .

4. SADC Consultative Conference

SADC informed the meeting that the theme of the Consultative Conference will be “Partnership for the Implementation of the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan and the Strategic Indicative Plan of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security�?.

The meeting noted that a Double Troika Task Force had been set up to work with the Secretariat in finalizing the documentation for the conference, scheduled for October 2005.

The EU stressed the importance of the timing, preparedness and high level participation, in order to ensure a successful outcome to the conference.

5. SADC and EU HOMs Dialogue

Both sides reviewed the meetings, which have taken place between the SADC and the EU HOMs in Gaborone and Brussels since October 2004.

The meeting stressed the need to operationalise the SADC/EU dialogue and in particular to encourage the HOMs in Gaborone and Brussels to engage in discussions with a view to identifying issues and making proposals for the JSC.

6.   Any Other Business

The meeting noted that the next EU-SADC double troika ministerial meeting will be held during the second half of 2006 in the SADC region. It stressed that the meeting needs to be prepared sufficiently in advance by one or more meetings of the JSC.

7. Adoption of Agreed Minutes

This page was last modified on : 24-06-2005

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