Tue, 21 May 2024 Today's Paper

SL starts discussions to join OACPS with potential EU FTA

1 November 2022 04:30 am - 4     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Nirj Deva at the meeting on ensuring food and fertiliser availability


Sri Lanka’s Presidential Envoy to Europe and Commonwealth Niranjan de Silva Deva Aditya (Nirj Deva) said this week in Brussels that he has started discussions for Sri Lanka to join the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS). 

The Maldives’ more advanced application to join the OACPS should be looked at alongside Sri Lanka’s application, he said. 

Nirj Deva, the former EU parliamentarian, who for 15 years was Vice President of the EU Parliament’s Development Committee, which as the budgetary authority sanctioned, supervised and monitored the giving of grants worth US $ 400 billion to developing countries, has called on the EU and Sri Lankan government to work together to boost ties between the two parties. 

Nirj Deva, a former British MP and MEP for 25 years, King Charles’ Deputy Lieutenant for the Lord Lieutenancy of Greater London, a Papal Knight and given the Vishwa Keerthi Sri Abhimani for services to Sri Lanka, made a strong appeal to the European Parliament to assist Sri Lanka at this critical juncture. 

“I have also started talking to the European Parliament (EU) about an expanded GSP+ that would include the five extra requirements that the EU wants. Ambassador Grace Asiriwatham is doing a great job on this, even though she works alone in the Sri Lanka Embassy to our second largest trading partner.” 

Some of these requirements are taking part in the International Criminal Court (Rome Statute), protecting people with disabilities, getting rid of the death penalty and making it legal for adults to be LGBT.  
As a consequence of these discussions, a free trade agreement (FTA) should and could be reached with the EU to coincide with the EU-India FTA, which has not yet been made public. 
Nirj Deva stated. 

Formerly known as the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States or ACP, the OACPS was established in 1975 via the Georgetown Agreement. The organisation’s primary goals are sustainable development and poverty reduction among its member nations. It consists of 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific governments, all of which, save Cuba, are parties to the Cotonou Agreement, commonly known as the ACP-EC Partnership Agreement. There are 48 Sub-Saharan African nations, 16 Caribbean and 15 Pacific. 

During the discussions, Nirj Deva presented the Sri Lankan president’s report on the effects of a potential global famine and a lack of food and fertiliser on Sri Lanka to 64 of Parliament’s senior MPs as well as measures to expand trade and investment with Sri Lanka.

To qualify for substantial funding from the UN Green Climate Fund and EU funds, Sri Lanka should request the EU to temporarily classify it as a low-income nation. 

“Whereas middle or lower-middle-income-country status, which Sri Lanka attained when her GDP was nearly Rs.14 trillion and the US $ was Rs.170, is now unsupportable when the economy has contracted to less than Rs.11 trillion and the dollar has shot up to nearly Rs.360.” Nirj Deva pointed out.

He said that joining the OACPS has substantial environmental, social and economic benefits for the country, as it seeks to strengthen ties between the island nation and African and Caribbean states. Also, if Sri Lanka joins, it will have a better chance of receiving assistance from other organisations, such as the EU. 

“A strong case should be made to temporarily assign Sri Lanka to the low-income country (LIC) status when she can qualify for huge amounts of free grants and cheap concessionary loans (banned for middle-income countries), including the EU’s Anything but Arms (EBA) free trade agreements, which exist for LIC, including Bangladesh. 
It is ridiculous for us to borrow money from Bangladesh on the one hand and pretend to be a richer middle-income country on the other. We should seek temporary LIC status until the financial crisis is over. This is an urgent application that needs to be made to the World Bank and OECD. 

Our Sri Lankan elites are constantly lotus eating living on 2000-year-old glories while begging for money from foreigners to eat and pretending not to do so. We must face reality and accept our fate, which in part is our own doing and which in part is due to external reasons like COVID, Ukraine War, climate change, floods and drought with dignity and courage,” he added. 

“I also met with the Vulnerable Small Island States’ designate chairman to see whether Sri Lanka may qualify for membership and have access to the Special Climate Funds,” he further stated.

Climate change has generated rain, floods, increasing sea levels and monsoon changes. 
As part of a plan to improve trade and cooperation between the EU and Sri Lanka, the EU will look into how it can help Sri Lanka build a fishing fleet. 

Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Belgium and EU Grace Asirwatham and more than 200 other participants took part in these discussions, which took place from October 24 to October 27 in the European Parliament in Brussels and the surrounding areas.



  Comments - 4

  • K.L Pathirana Tuesday, 01 November 2022 06:21 AM

    "To qualify for substantial funding from the UN Green Climate Fund and EU funds, Sri Lanka should request the EU to temporarily classify it as a low-income nation". How about that ? If you get another crook like Nirj Deva, he'd point out the loopholes that we missed. If you are a country that is concerned on the environment, wilderness, rain-forest and air quality, STOP issuing fake permits to cut trees, illicit logging and destruction of wildlife. If you allow a group of donkey's to govern a country, the donkey will ensure its inhabitants would only be donkeys.

    Contrating leadership Tuesday, 01 November 2022 08:29 AM

    It is heartening to see so much Sri Lankans holding very honorable and high posts, trying to help the motherland overcome the current debacle. It is also give us a sense of shame, sinking feeling and emptiness, when we look at the bunch of 225, some of whom are ATA PAAASS, in whose hands our future generation depend. Their sole qualification was and still is their ability to divide the public and incite hatred and enmity based on race, religion, religion, cast and now region for their own nourishment. Immediately after the July upheaval the went out of sight. Now they testing the ground for a come back, by appearing at odd places singing their own glory. We are Tom Idiots to still raise slogans for them.

    Action for freedom Tuesday, 01 November 2022 05:16 PM

    Sri Lanka government must think world decision makers so stupid, they will not look at file about Sri Lanka each will have, that will have in it Sri Lanka is a known human rights violator. How much is Nirj Deva getting for this lobbying? He has much business interests in Sri Lanka, and likely looking to get some commission from whatever funding he organizes for, while more will go into the pockets of Ministers, MPs and officials. Another fraud in the making. Why doesn't he have the courage to donate his great wealth to the nation instead of trying to get more from the Europeans, just like another 'lotus eater'.

    Action for freedom Tuesday, 01 November 2022 05:18 PM

    Public information about Nirj Deva the con artist: "In 2006 Deva tried to become a candidate for the post of Secretary-General of the United Nations. Deva claimed to have received the recommendation of Fijian Foreign Minister Kaliopate Tavola, a claim refuted by Fiji. He tried unsuccessfully to receive the endorsement of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The British government also refused to support Deva. With so little support Deva didn't go forward as an official candidate."

Add comment

Comments will be edited (grammar, spelling and slang) and authorized at the discretion of Daily Mirror online. The website also has the right not to publish selected comments.

Reply To:

Name - Reply Comment