WINDHOEK: Trade and Industry Minister Dr Hage Geingob has accused the European Union (EU) of using bullying tactics because of its decision to stand by an ultimatum which forces Namibia to decide on the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) by 2014.
After almost a decade of negotiations on EPAs between African-Caribbean-Pacific (ACP) countries and the EU, the EU has set an ultimatum for the talks, stating that the 18 out of 36 countries which have not yet concluded or implemented an EPA now have until 01 January 2014 to do so.
Despite a call by President Hifikepunye Pohamba on the EU last month to waive the ultimatum regarding the signing of the EPA so that negotiations can proceed without undue pressure, the EU has decided to stick to the deadline.
The Head of the EU Delegation to Namibia, Ambassador Raul Fuentes Milani broke the news of the EU decision to Geingob when he paid a courtesy call on the minister at his office today.
He said they took the plea very serious, ‘but the EU’s position stands for the talks to be concluded by 2014.’
Some SADC countries, including Namibia, are set to lose preferential access to the European Union, which wants ACP countries to sign free trade agreements, or face potential loss of market access to the 27-member EU bloc.