August 4, 2009

Opportunities in Pacific - EC DG

Crisis offers region opportunities: EC regional director-general - Tuesday, August 04, 2009

"A SERIOUS crisis should never be allowed to go to waste... they hold real opportunities to refocus priorities, to make quantum leaps in terms of regional integration, to invest more and better, to stimulate economies, to achieve green growth and to redesign the international economic, financial and environmental architecture." This was the view of the European Commission's Director-General for Development and Relations with African, Caribbean and Pacific States, Stefano Manservisi.

He made the comment at yesterday's Lowy Institute conference on the impact of the global economic crisis on the Pacific Islands region in Brisbane. The conference was a lead-up to the Pacific Island Forum, which opened in Cairns, Australia today. "The global economic crisis shows how deeply the prosperity and the future of advanced economies and developing countries are linked through globalisation and that a global system of rules was needed for equitable sharing of benefits and costs," he said. Mr Manservisi stressed that advanced countries must create the conditions for a more inclusive and regulated globalisation, and to fight poverty and exclusion as a necessary element of a sustainable global recovery.
Mr Manservisi said participation of poor countries must be promoted in global forums such as the G20 where economic and political decisions were taken. "But," he said. "developing countries also needed to take measures to mobilise their domestic resources and stimulate private sector activities and growth". A statement released after his speech said the EU, that is the Commission and the Member States, remained a strong supporter of Pacific regional integration, being the second largest donor of aid in the Pacific region with $449.55m ($US227.7m) in 2007.
It said last year the Commission alone tripled its financial support for regional cooperation in the Pacific. The EC was also adminsitering a new financial instrument, dubbed the EU Vulnerability FLEX to assist ACP countries to the tune of $1423.8m (500m Euro) by 2010. "The EU also stands ready to support social safety nets and to promote investments in coordination with other donor countries in the region such as Australia and New Zealand", he said. The statement said the EU was interested in joining the Pacific Regional Infrastructure Facility that Australia, New Zealand, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank launched at last year's Pacific Forum.

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