30 Aug 2012

Pacific leaders are frustrated and suspicious of EU negotiations

4:22 am on 30 August 2012

Pacific leaders are frustrated and suspicious of European Union negotiations for an economic partnership agreement with the region.

EPAs were due to come into force in 2008, but from the region, only Fiji and Papua New Guinea have signed interim agreements, and there has been no formal negotiation since 2009.

Niue's Premier Toke Talagi says there is a tendency to quote legal frameworks, but there should be flexibility.

"There is a degree of frustration on our part at the fact that this agreement has not been signed. There is also a suspicion on our side that maybe they are trying too hard to get all that they want, and there is no degree of compromise in the arrangements we need to put in place. We believe that there should be some degree, in fact a large degree of goodwill."

Niue's Premier Toke Talagi

Leaders have agreed that if an EPA has not been signed by October, a special meeting of the Pacific leaders of the African Caribbean and Pacific Group will be held.