Members' Research Service By / July 9, 2018

After Cotonou: Towards a new agreement with the African, Caribbean and Pacific states [International Agreements in Progress]

L’accord de partenariat entre l’Union européenne et les pays d’Afrique, des Caraïbes et du Pacifique (ACP) expire en 2020. Le principal défi pour l’Union européenne est de maintenir ses relations dans la région, tout en restant fidèle aux valeurs promues dans les Traités européens.

© European Union, EPRS

Written by Eric Pichon (6th edition, updated on 20.1.2021),

Le futur partenariat de l’Union européenne avec les pays d’Afrique, des Caraïbes et du Pacifique
© European Union, EPRS

The Cotonou partnership agreement between the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) states was due to expire in February 2020. The then ACP Group of States – which later became the Organisation of the ACP States (OACPS) – and the EU started negotiations for a ‘post-Cotonou’ agreement in September 2018. This time around, the main challenge for the EU is to maintain its cooperation with the three OACPS sub-regions and to continue to promote the values enshrined in the EU Treaties. At the same time, the new partnership should take into account the United Nations’ sustainable development goals, the redefinition of the EU’s strategies for the regions concerned, the ACP states’ new ambitions and the changing balance of power at the global level. Both the EU and the OACPS have agreed on the principle of a common foundation complemented by three regional protocols. These multi-level negotiations, the coronavirus crisis and difficulties in reaching agreement on sensitive issues, such as migration management and sexual and reproductive health and rights, prevented the new agreement from being finalised by the initial expiry date set in the Cotonou Agreement. Thus, to avoid a legal vacuum in relations, the provisions of this agreement were extended until the end of 2021. After two years of negotiations, a political deal was reached in December 2020, including on the most complex issues. The European Parliament insisted on maintaining the ACP-EU joint parliamentary assembly and was successful in this endeavour; in addition, three regional parliamentary assemblies will be created in the future institutional set-up of the partnership.

New Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States
Committee responsible: Development (DEVE) 2019/2832(RSP)
Rapporteur: Tomas Tobé (EPP, Sweden)


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