From the Guardian last week: Mandelson hits back at African leaders on trade
"If all of Africa has rejected EPAs, why are we getting people signing?" Mandelson told Reuters as he headed into a meeting of EU foreign ministers on Monday to discuss the talks.
"It's because in some cases they feel reluctantly that they don't have any alternative and don't want their trade disrupted..."
i.e. we have bullied them into it.
Isn't the UK Government doing something about it?
"Other EU countries pressed Mandelson on Monday to offer alternatives to the Jan. 1 deadline but did not have enough support to force a rewrite of the proposed EPA texts."
"The Netherlands wanted more time for middle-income countries if they have no deal by Jan. 1 and Britain suggested export duties be refunded once a deal was done."
"Mandelson told Reuters such proposals were "totally unrealistic" and would undermine the position of countries which have already signed up in the eyes of domestic lobbies."
Its a good thing we have built up such a stock of "influence in Europe" with all our concessions over the years...