At a special Committee of Ambassadors (CoA) meeting on 5 September 2019, African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) ambassadors paid tribute to outgoing Director-General (DG) of International Cooperation and Development at the European Commission, Mr Stefano Manservisi. The ambassadors warmly reflected on their relationship with the outgoing DG and thanked him for his efforts with respect to their individual countries as well as for his leadership and guidance on the joint agreements brokered between the ACP and EU.
Mr Manservisi in turn, gave insights on his personal journey, which started while still a student at University “studying the challenges of international cooperation in the seventies” when, in analysing the first Lome convention, he was struck by “The recognition of the asymmetries, for example, the recognition of the fact that we were not equal at all… The recognition of the fact that ownership… should have been the centre of gravity, not imposing anything, but rather listening and then… putting to the service of that – knowledge, experience and money.”
Pointing out the synergies between the ACP Group in the South and the European Group of States in the North, he led his listeners on a journey through history, signaling significant points in the evolution of the relationship between the EU and the ACP, to caution – on the eve of the post-Cotonou era – to “consolidate now, into something which is totally different, which is already different,” with respect to the fact that “the two biggest blocs of the North and of the South are concluding again an agreement which is based, on what? On trying to work together for a better world.”
As the ACP Group of States bids a fond farewell to a colleague and a friend, in the words of the Chair of the CoA, the Ambassador of Papua New Guinea, H.E. Joshua Kalinoe, we “express and convey to you our deep gratitude for your personal interest and efforts towards the success of the ACP Group of States and to its improved relationship with the European Union.”
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