EU-ACP pleased with negotiations for successor to Cotonou Agreement
BRUSSELS, CMC – The European Union says a new accord to replace the Cotonou Agreement that currently governs its relationship with the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group is “taking shape”.
The existing agreement is due to expire in 2020 and negotiations on a new ACP-EU Partnership were launched in New York last September in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly.
The EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development and its chief negotiator, Neven Mimica, Thursday met in Brussels with the ACP chief negotiator and Chair of the Ministerial Central Negotiating Group, Robert Dussey, to discuss the outline for the future ACP-EU agreement.
“The agreement is taking shape. It is time to step up our efforts and speed up our progress to deliver as expected,” Mimica said, noting that the discussions on the regional partnerships “bring us a step closer to this new and stronger cooperation we are aiming for”.
For his part, Dussey, who is also Togo’s foreign minister, said “we started this negotiation in September last year and have made steady progress since then.
“The consultations with the three regions were beneficial in so far as giving a good idea of the needs for each region. We look forward to concluding an Agreement which is focused on the current and future needs of our member countries,” he added.
The initial rounds of talks mainly focused on the common foundation at EU-ACP level.
The ACP Secretariat noted that this common foundation sets out the values and principles that bring the EU and ACP countries together and indicates the strategic priority areas that both sides intend to work on together.
The Cotonou Agreement was signed in June 2000 in Cotonou, Benin’s largest city.
It came into force in 2003 and was subsequently revised in 2005 and 2010.
It is regarded as the most comprehensive partnership agreement between developing countries and the EU and in 2010 ACP-EU cooperation has been adapted to new challenges such as climate change, food security, regional integration, state fragility and aid effectiveness.
Earlier this month, the EU issued a statement regarding the “New ACP-EU Partnership after 2020,” noting that it intends to build on the lessons learned during “our 44 years of cooperation and making the most of the new context, the future agreement can bring unprecedented opportunities..
Following Thursday’s meeting, the ACP said that while talks on the specific regional partnerships progress, the EU and ACP negotiating teams will continue their work on the text of the agreement that covers all 79 countries.
“Upcoming negotiation sessions will notably focus on the institutional set-up. The aim is to make maximum progress before the next chief negotiators’ meeting, due to take place in the second half of July,” it added.