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Post-Cotonou: setting up the future partnership

Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

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Tuesday, 02 October 2018

Post-Cotonou: setting up the future partnership

This month the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group are set to embark on negotiations to decide the framework for a new Cotonou Partnership Agreement (CPA), expected to be in place in February 2020. As the process unfolds, it is useful to examine potential avenues for collaboration between the ACP Group and the EU, and also how potential hurdles and new competing partnerships could derail the agreement. The ACP Council of Ministers has shown interest in continuing its partnership with the EU based on the following agenda: repositioning the ACP group to be a more effective global player that will respond to the needs of its members; leveraging the principles of complementarity and subsidiarity between the ACP Group, RECs and continental organisations; and sustaining financing of a repositioned ACP group. The ACP group has two key requirements that it regards as material to a future CPA: (i) It insists on a single agreement with three key pillars: trade, investment & services; development cooperation, science & technology, research & innovation; and political dialogue & advocacy. This is in contrast to the EU position that seeks a framework agreement with three separate regional pacts with Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. In fact, the EU originally wanted to expand the scope of the agreement even further to include Latin America and Asia in a future agreement. However, that idea has since been abandoned. (ii) It wants the new agreement to better account for intra-ACP migration, to include the voluntary nature of returns to countries of origin, and to prohibit the use of development assistance as a means of negotiating border controls. Specifically the ACP group wants more emphasis placed on creating the right conditions to promote legal migration and skills-sharing, which can be better utilised in contributing to a positive narrative on migration. The EU wishes to engage the ACP group on the following issues: (i) Sustainable development, particularly in the context of climate change and agricultural production; (ii) Protection and explicit prohibition of discrimination based on sexual, ethnic, religious and human rights

Source: africaportal.org