Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

EU Pressure Hits World's Poorest Very Hard

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

EU Pressure Hits World's Poorest Very Hard

Article excerpt

The European Union has recently stepped up the pressure over negotiations on free trade agreements, Economic Partnership Agreements, with 75 former colonies in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific (ACP).

These new free trade agreements would open the markets of poor countries, such as Malawi, destroying fledgling industries and livelihoods of local farmers who would face unfair competition with the economic powerhouse of Europe.

The Pacific Islands face the EU with an economy 1,400 times its size. The agreements will hit desperately poor countries such as Malawi and Congo very hard and deprive them of money needed for schools, hospitals and other services. The Congo could lose more than its entire education budget. Both countries need urgent investments in public health and education.

A huge amount is at stake for the ACP countries: 41% of their exports go to Europe, but ACP trade is small change for the EU. Firms in the City of London pay more in executive bonuses than Europe spends on products from the ACP countries. …

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