Cotonou Agreement

After several months of interruption due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the 28-member European Union and the 79-member Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) resumed negotiations for a new agreement in June. In July 2014, 16 West African states, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) reached an agreement with the EU. The signing process is currently underway. “We are in the final phase of negotiations,” a European Commission spokeswoman told the DW. More than 95% of the treaty text agrees. However, the Commission refused to provide specific information or conduct an interview. The aim of this procedure is to return to a normal relationship between the partners. In the absence of an agreement, the party that initiated the process can take action on cooperation projects and development assistance. Under the new agreement, the EU can be more selective and flexible in allocating and using its development resources. Endowments are based on an assessment of a country`s needs and performance and include the ability to regularly adjust financial resources. In practice, this means that more money can be paid to “good interpreters” and that the proportion of “bad interpreters” can be reduced. Meanwhile, a spokesman for the European Commission said that the text of the new post-Cotonou agreement had been 95% finalised. Perhaps the most radical amendment introduced by the Cotonou Agreement concerns trade cooperation.

Since the first Lomé Convention in 1975, the EU has not granted reciprocal trade preferences to ACP countries. However, under the Cotonou Agreement, this system has been replaced by the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), a new regime that came into force in 2008. The new regime provides for reciprocal trade agreements, which means that not only does the EU grant duty-free access to its ACP export markets, but also that ACP countries grant duty-free access to their own markets for EU exports. The European Commission has formally begun negotiations with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries for a new partnership agreement to succeed the Cotonou agreement. This is an opportunity to build man-centred cooperation as an equal partner, but there is a fear that Africa will be presented only as Europe`s trading and economic partner. The ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly is an advisory body made up equally of representatives from the EU and ACP countries. The Assembly promotes democratic processes and facilitates a better understanding between the peoples of the EU and those of the ACP countries.

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