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IP/07/1659

Brussels, 7 November 2007

Portuguese-speaking African countries (PALOP) and Timor-Leste sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the European Commission on the continuation of their long-standing cooperation. Timor-Leste will be part of this cooperation for the first time.

On the occasion of the European Development Days in Lisbon, on 7 November 2007, the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel, and high-level representatives of the six Portuguese-speaking ACP countries have signed, in the presence of the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) setting out the direction for cooperation under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF).

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will provide a new framework for cooperation between the European Commission and the six Portuguese-speaking ACP countries.

The focus of future activities will be on democratic governance as a key determinant for poverty reduction, including, in particular, political governance, government effectiveness, economic governance and social governance.

These activities are being integrated into a multi-country approach, which will make it possible to identify common solutions to common problems, to exchange know-how and experience and to disseminate best practices.

Background:

The group of Portuguese-speaking African countries, comprising Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique and São Tomé and Principe, share a strong linguistic and cultural identity, a similar system of governance and a long tradition of contacts and exchanges amongst themselves. With Timor-Leste joining the ACP group in 2005, the ACP Portuguese-speaking countries have expanded from Africa to the Asian-Pacific region and cooperation under the 10th EDF will thus cover these six countries. Cooperation between the European Commission and the PALOP group began in 1992, when the first Regional Indicative Programme (RIP PALOP) was signed.


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