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Rumpf bemoans EPA support in Brussels

The Namibian, Windhoek

Rumpf bemoans EPA support in Brussels

By Maggy Thomas

17 December 2012

MALABO – Ambassador to Belgium, Hanno Rumpf, has expressed concern over the lack of support from developmental partners in Europe when it comes to economic partnership agreement (EPA) at the European Union (EU) Council in Brussels.

Speaking to Nampa on the sidelines of the Seventh Summit for Heads of State and Government of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries in Equatorial Guinea on Thursday, Rumpf said Namibia has excellent relations at bilateral level with numerous EU states such as Germany, Portugal and France, amongst others.

Rumpf is also representing the Namibian Government in The Netherlands, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Swiss Confederation and the Mission to the European Union.

“What we have missed in EPA negotiations is that in Brussels, we deal in a multilateral context through the European Council,” he said, adding that it is regrettable that support from individual countries is not forthcoming at council level.

“At the council level, it appears that we do not have support, although we have lobbied for support in our quest from individual countries. This is something we have to make clear with our cooperating partners and friends at bilateral level,” Rumpf said.

“This contradiction is unacceptable. You cannot claim that you have good relations at bilateral level with many European countries, but only to find out that the same partners do not support you at multilateral level”, he said.

Rumpf said Namibia lobbied with its partners and was assured of their support, but they withheld that support during multilateral settings.
When he went back to discuss the matter with them, their argument was that it was simply “bad coordination”.

“Anyway, we are developing countries and dealing with highly-sophisticated developed countries, and hopefully the coordination will be much better in future. But what we have to be clear about is that if two friends are seeking support, it does not matter which setting it is, the support should not be withheld,” he he said.

During the summit that ends on Friday, discussions are held on the future of the ACP Group, focusing on trade issues, including the EPAs with the European Union, as well as the nature of ACP-EU relations in general.
Also attending the summit, which ended on Friday, was Prime Minister Hage Geingob on behalf of President Hifikepunye Pohamba, and Trade and Industry Minister Calle Schlettwein. – Nampa