Statement by the honorable professor Robert Dussey, Chief negotiator for the ACP group of states

Friday 28 September 2018, 10:00, New York, United States of America


Your Excellency’s, distinguished guest ladies and gentlemen.
Let me first thank Commissioner Minister for accepting to behave in New York

In less than two years, we are called to renew the terms of ACP-EU cooperation. This ceremony officially launches the process of the negotiations that will lead us to a new agreement. The signing of a new cooperation agreement between our two entities was well worthwhile as the European Union and the ACP still have unexploited opportunities to explore and exploit together. To paraphrase the title of a book by Karl POPPER and Konrad LORENZ the horizon of our cooperation remains open and there is room for hope for the future.

For the future of our cooperation, hope is justified only if it is based on a common commitment to journeying together along the road of prosperity. We must work together to succeed together. ACP-EU cooperation will remain faithful to its original ambition only if it remains a partnership at the service of the fundamental human right to ACP peoples’ development. The key challenge for the ACP remains the war on the lack of development and our partnership must be able to help ACP member States to meet this challenge.

The connection between the ACP Group and the EU was established in Article 1 of Chapter 1 of the Georgetown Agreement, the Constitutive Act of the ACP Group, which states that “The Members of the ACP Group shall be the African, Caribbean and Pacific States which are signatory to the Convention of Lomé and to this Agreement.” The ACP Group underlines that ACP-EU partnership is a valuable and unique achievement that has strengthened bonds between ACP and EU peoples and countries throughout the last 45 years of its existence. The opening of the negotiations today heralds the continuity of trust and confidence cherished by parties to the Partnership.

Difficulties, misunderstandings and pitfalls may arise in the joint venture of negotiations, but we must stand firm, use our “practical wisdom” to overcome them. “Practical wisdom”, the other name of ARISTOTE’s phronesis, says Paul RICOEUR in his work oneself as another, “consists in inventing just behavior suited to the singular nature of the case”. It can help us overcome the aporias, the “reasonable disagreements”, the “objective illusions” and risks of stalemates immanent to any normal process of negotiation.
We must ensure that ACP-EU cooperation really serve the cause of development of ACP countries. ACP-EU cooperation can only lead to the development desired and hoped for by the ACP States if it does not annihilate their endogenous development initiatives, if it does not compromise – to borrow the word from Amartya SEN – the “capabilities” of the ACP countries through deindustrialization and the dismantling of their economies. It is in the economic and strategic interest of Europe that the ACP countries develop. To think otherwise would be a lack of ambition.

We need more ambition and imagination to understand the new challenges of our cooperation that we hope for and wish to be more fruitful, fairer and more responsible. When you are two to journey on a road, you need essential lucidity so as not to step on your fellow traveler’s toes. Lucidity, by its Latin etymology, means “light” and someone who is lucid, says Augustin Kouadio DIBI “is someone that can see clearly, someone that grasps things in the light”. In the light, we will come to a new agreement in the best interest of Europe and the ACP countries.
Many topics will be on the agenda of upcoming negotiations. These topics touch on fields (for illustrative purposes) such as economics and investment, development cooperation, research and technological innovation, climate change, the war on poverty, security, political dialogue and migration. The examination of all these subjects must be done in the near future in broader rationality.

Because I remain convinced that the horizon of ACP-EU cooperation remains open; that the European Union and the ACP countries still have “possible future” to explore and invent together, I would like to end on this thought of the French philosopher of prospection Gaston Berger in his book The Phenomenology of time and Prospective: “Tomorrow will not be like yesterday. It will be new and it will depend on us. It is less to discover than to invent”.

Good luck with future negotiations.
Thank you for your attention

Welcome speech from Prof. Robert DUSSEY at the interministerial meeting of the ECCAS-ECOWAS Joint Summit

Ladies and gentlemen, Ministers of ECOWAS,
Ladies and gentlemen Ministers of ECCAS,
Mr. President of the ECOWAS Commission,
Mr. Secretary General of ECCAS,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Togo feels honored every time it hosts an event of this level. I would like, on behalf of the President of the Togolese Republic and President-in-Office of ECOWAS, Mr. Faure Essozimna GNASSINGBE, to welcome you to our cosmopolitan city where no visitor is foreign.

You are at home and I invite you to feel at ease. The Latin poet and playwright Terence, to whom some people of African origins, said in a very Togolese accent: “I am a man, and I do not consider anything human as foreign to me.” Anyone who visits Togo sees and lives his regime humanist of hospitality. For Togo, the reception of the other, whoever he may be, wherever he comes from, is more than a duty. The human being wherever it happens, said the philosopher Kant in his book Project of perpetual peace, has the right to hospitality. Moreover, the value of hospitality is one of the values ​​that our African societies still have to teach in the world. You will not deny me!

Ministers, dear colleagues,

Your presence in Lome responds to an imperative of the day: that of interregional cooperation to better face some of the crucial common challenges facing our two regions. It reflects the empowering or empowering option of ECCAS and ECOWAS for working in cooperation. I welcome this spirit between our two regional communities and remain convinced that the integration project at the African level requires strengthening regional and interregional cooperation. The joint organization of this summit is an example of successful intra-African cooperation.

We need to intensify cooperation between our communities. The joint organization of this ECCAS and ECOWAS summit on peace, security, stability and the fight against violent extremism and terrorism is proof that interregional cooperation is under way in Africa. Cooperation, by its Latin etymology, means working together on a common work. ECCAS and ECOWAS have understood that together we must take responsibility for the security of our interregional space and the Summit of Heads of State and Government of 30 July which will be sanctioned by a joint declaration is a very important one. beautiful illustration.
Violent extremism and terrorism, wherever they may be, threaten peace and stability wherever they may be. By coming together to face the extremist and terrorist dangers together, our two communities have taken the measure of danger and realized that synergistic action is a guarantee of effectiveness. By taking the initiative of this summit, the two Presidents-in-Office of ECCAS and ECOWAS as well as the two Community Institutions have understood that the form taken today by the security challenges and the uncertainties they induce in terms of development and human security makes synergistic action indispensable. The challenge being collective, the response or the action must be too.
Security is a vital human need, a community and interregional public good that we must defend at all costs. “There are just wars,” says André MALRAUX in one of his books whose title is L’espoir. The war against terrorism and for regional and interregional security and stability is a just war. No progress and human development without peace and security.

The military response is needed against the danger of extremism and terrorism, but it is not a sufficient remedy. Our two regions are destined to win the war against ignorance, radicalization, fundamentalism and extremism. It is a question of weaning the terrorism of its favorable grounds by the prevention which implies the education with lucidity. It is through lucid education that we will be right about the indoctrination, radicalism and extremism that feeds terrorism. To overcome terrorism, we must win the fight of education, here understood in the holistic sense of the term.
By reiterating my fraternal welcome to our capital, in your capital, I wish you a pleasant and pleasant stay in Lome.

Thank you.