El Khabar 10-02-2008
The EU Ambassador to Algeria, Wolfgang Plaza, Fatour Essabah guest
The European party agrees amending the Association Agreement
By H.S / S.B.A / Translation A.A
The Ambassador of the EU to Algeria said some aspects of the Association Agreement between Europe and Algeria have not met expectations of the two parties, pointing that some of them are to be amended before the date set for that, i.e. 2010.
Mr. Wolfgang Plaza, hosted by Fatour Essabah indicated that the European party is committed, after the visit paid by the EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson to Algeria, accepting Algerian requests in terms of reviewing some terms of the Agreement related to rights and duties.
On another side, Mr. Wolfgang indicated that both parties are disappointed as Algeria has not managed to increase its exports towards Europe, pointing out : “we have to realise that the Association Agreement is not a magic wand ; it is rather an entry key... Progress requires some conditions that should be provided by the economic sector.”
He further added : “one thing is sure is that the Association Agreement is not a purely commercial agreement ; it includes political, security, economic, financial, cultural and human aspects too.”
Europe counterterrorism approach more mature
Fatour Essabah guest said the European approach in terms of counterterrorism partnership has become more mature, pointing out that Europe tends to make a comprehensive vision on any phenomenon threatening the security of the region.
Mr. Wolfgang indicated that the meeting of Portugal gathering Interior Ministers has permitted reviewing security challenges’ vision and approach, either in terms of terrorism, organized crime or illegal migration.
On another side, he said : “we are getting closer to our partners and our basic goal is not adopting a unilateral vision ; rather we are adopting a common vision on nature of threats and counterterrorism strategies...We have to cover any threat targeting any party.”
Chinese products invasion affected Europe’s share in the Algerian market
The European Ambassador disclosed that Europe’s share in the Algerian market has dropped by 54% since the entering into force of the Association Agreement in September 2005.
He said Chinese products have contributed to that drop despite advantages stipulated by the Association Agreement for European products namely the gradual dismantling of customs tariff.
Mr. Wolfgang said Chinese products have been imposed in the Algerian market regarding their low prices compared to the European ones.
He further raised the issue of counterfeited products coming mostly from China, saying the issue is being discussed between the EU and Algeria every time they talk about commerce exchange, saying importing counterfeited products favours unfair competition.
Security situation in Algeria prevented the coming of EU expertise
The guest of Fatour Essabah indicated that the security factor has hindered bringing European expertise to Algeria, saying : “there’s a deficit in terms of getting a European technical support as the European expertise avoid coming to Algeria regarding the current security situation.”
On another side, Mr. Wolfgang indicated that Algeria has done progress in terms of consuming budgets listed under MEDA Euromed programme.
He said : “there were 10 hard years during which the European Commission in Algeria found difficulties to spend budgets allocated by the EU, but now we are underscoring a significant progress in that context.”
EU agreement with Algeria to access the WTO hindered
Mr. Wolfgang Plaza indicated that a bilateral agreement between the EU and Algeria for permitting this latter accession to the World Trade Organization is encountering a serious problem as WTO members have requested from Algeria to enjoy same advantages as the EU in the frame of the Association Agreement.
Mr. Wolfgang said it is a serious problem as it remains among pending issues for the completion of bilateral negotiations with the EU permitting Algeria’s accession to the World Trade Organization.