Sexta-feira, 16 de Julho de 2010

Should CPLP accept Equatorial Guinea as a member?

By Paulo Gorjão

 

Opponents of Equatorial Guinea’s acceptance as a member of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) justify their stance with two main arguments. The first brings forward the nature of the regime, i.e. CPLP should not accept as a member an authoritarian regime. The main problem with this regime argument is that, when it was established in 1996, the CPLP was never meant to be a club of democracies. More important, as far as the nature of the regime is concerned, the CPLP continues to be a club of different regimes. Indeed, in 2010, Angola is ranked by the Freedom House as “not free”, and Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and Timor Leste as “partly free”. In other words, why should CPLP demand to Equatorial Guinea more than is required to the current members?

The other argument against membership is the language. Portuguese is not an official language in Equatorial Guinea and the CPLP in Article 6 says explicitly that the Portuguese as an official language is a requirement regarding membership. Equatorial Guinea announced already that it would adopt the Portuguese as an official language. Thus, as long as it matches words with deeds, the language argument does not make much sense either.

In my view, the pros and cons of Equatorial Guinea’s membership lie elsewhere. One should think exactly how its acceptance brings added value to the organization. The CPLP will become a stronger multilateral institution if Equatorial Guinea is accepted as a member? Why? Will it bring additional power resources? More soft power? Enlarged regional influence? In other words, what will be delivered by Equatorial Guinea to CPLP? And, is this something valued by CPLP?

The answers to the questions above should determine the fate of Equatorial Guinea’s membership request.

 

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