Algeria-EU Association Council to meet next 13 March in Brussels

APS - 16 February 2017

BRUSSELS � The Algeria-EU Association Council (EU) would meet next 13 March in Brussels, announced Wednesday Minister of State, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ramtane Lamamra.

"We agreed that the Association Council will meet on 13 March, which will be followed by visits of European officials to Algeria,” he said following his meeting with the EU Diplomacy Chief Federica Mogherini.

The meeting will be chaired by Minister of State, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ramtane Lamamra and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.

According to Lamamra, "a certain number of agreements will be signed" during the Council meeting, which document on the priorities of Algeria-EU strategic partnership was finalized during last December’s meeting of experts in Algiers.

This document covers several areas; namely good governance, democracy, Rule of Law, mobility and persons’ movement, and the cooperation in the fields of security and energy as well has been approved Wednesday by the College of EU Commissioners.

The EU Council which includes the 28 member states will deliver its say about this document in the coming days.

The aim "is to accompany Algeria in its political and economic reforms, through the diversification of its economy," diplomatic source said.

For the foreign minister, this document "builds a new vision concerning Algeria’s needs in the economic sector, with regard to what has been agreed in the Association Agreement" signed by the two parties in 2002 and implemented in September 2005.

In this respect, he stressed that a new positive interpretation of the Agreement provisions had emerged as a result of the evolution of the Algerian economy, allowing the suspension of the import of certain products, previously stipulated in the Agreement.

The "rebalancing of cooperation links" is to restore Algeria's position as the Union's first economic partner in the region, he added.

Ten years following its entry in force, which has established an open dialogue and an exhaustive collaboration in the political, security, economic, commercial, financial, cultural and human sectors, the Association Agreement has not reached the results expected by the Algerian side.

Since the conclusion of this Agreement, the EU's trade position has steadily strengthened to the detriment of the national economy. In 2010, this situation led the Algerian Government to unilaterally freeze tariff concessions granted to the EU under the Association Agreement.

After eight rounds of lengthy negotiations, a compromise on the postponement of the Free Trade Zone, initially scheduled for 2017, to 2020 was found.