Parliament backs historic EU partnership agreement with Iraq

17-1-2013 — / — MEPs backed the EU’s first-ever partnership deal with Iraq on Thursday, aimed at helping it complete the transition to democracy, rebuild and normalise relations with the international community. In a separate resolution, MEPs raise concerns about continuing violence and human rights abuses in Iraq and call for a stronger EU presence there.

The Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) will boost ties in a range of areas, from trade and investment to development. The non-preferential trade agreement, in force provisionally since 1 August 2012, includes basic trade cooperation rules to help Iraq prepare for eventual WTO accession.

“The PCA is a symbol of the EU’s determination to play an important role in Iraq’s transition. We must however match our political ambitions and the strategic stakes involved with the human and financial resources needed,” said the rapporteur, Mario Mauro (EPP, IT).

Under the renewable 10-year deal signed on 11 May 2012 and now endorsed by the House, ministers will meet each year to review progress with peace, democracy and the rule of law. The EU will also help Iraq accede to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

The agreement also promotes human rights and fundamental freedoms and seeks to combat terrorism and the proliferation of weapons.

MEPs backed the deal by a big majority in a show of hands.

National reconciliation paramount

In an accompanying, non-binding resolution, also passed by a show of hands, MEPs voice alarm at continuing acts of violence against civilians, vulnerable groups and religious communities and call for tougher action by the Iraqi authorities against inter-ethnic violence.

Stronger EU presence in Iraq

The EU delegation in Baghdad must be fully operational to enable the EU to play a significant role in Iraq’s transition, MEPs say. It must be properly staffed and have its own adequate premises and its head must have the necessary security cover to travel anywhere in the country in order to monitor EU-funded programmes, respect for human rights and reform efforts.

Procedure: Consent & Non-legislative resolution


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