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Date: 20/11/2007

The 27 European Union member states, meeting in Brussels under the rotating presidency of Portugal, reached an accord of principles today on a future special partnership with Cape Verde, aimed at strengthening and expanding ties between the country and the EU.

The EU’s Council of General Affairs and Foreign Relations, which brings together some one hundred Ministers of Foreign Affairs, of Cooperation and of Defense today and tomorrow in Brussels, has adopted a number of conclusions based on a European Commission document on the future of relations between the EU and Cape Verde, which will now be considered “special,” according to a news item published this morning by Portuguese news agency Lusa.

The special partnership will strengthen political dialogue and economic convergence between the two sides, moving beyond the traditional donor/beneficiary relationship with the establishment of a list of mutual interests, according to the document approved today by the Council that highlights “the special and strong historical relations between the two sides.”
The development of EU-Cape Verde relations will be founded, from now on, on democracy, good governance, respect for human rights and respect for the primacy of the law.

The 27 EU member states “acknowledge the aspirations” of the Cape Verdean government and of Cape Verdean citizens to strengthen their relations with the EU and its members, in particular with its ultra-peripheral regions, such as the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands, with which Cape Verde maintains historical, cultural, linguistic and economic ties.

The Council highlighted the “efforts” of Cape Verdean authorities toward continuing reforms in order to improve the levels of governance and results, as well as the continuation of poverty-reduction programs in the country.

The European ministers meeting in Brussels also “hailed” Cape Verde for its graduation from the UN list of Least Developed Countries beginning on January 1.

The special status Cape Verde will obtain with the European Union includes a “plan of action” that congregates approximation between Europe and Africa, opening up a precedent to the Cotonou Accords between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP).

In addition to defining financing processes through the European Development Fund and with the approval of the European Investment Bank, the accord also calls for the creation of a Special Partnership follow-up commission.

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