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The EU and the ACP countries sign the revised Cotonou Agreement

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Friday, 24 June 2005

The EU and the ACP countries sign the revised Cotonou Agreement

The revised Cotonou Agreement will be signed tomorrow in Luxembourg by the EU and 76 countries from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. The new provisions cover a broad range of issues, including a provision for a strengthened political dialogue and references to the fight against terrorism, cooperation in countering proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“The signature of the revised agreement is yet another important step to strengthen the privileged relationship between the European Union and countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. The global agreement represents a balanced package which improves upon the efficiency and quality of our partnership and reinforces our common commitment to the Millennium Development Goals. Poverty reduction remains at the heart of the revised Agreement, while the continuation of sustainable, long-term financing and inclusion of important security and political dialogue provisions render our partnership even more effective”, stated Louis Michel, Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, at the occasion of the ceremony.

The signature of the revised Agreement will be followed by a process of ratification. In order to allow for early application, transitional measures will allow the majority of the revised provisions to enter into force upon signature. However, the provisions relating to the new financial resources can not take effect before the entry into force of the next multi-annual financial framework. In this context, the EU has committed to maintaining a threshold of financing at least equivalent to that of the 9th European Development Fund, taking into account inflation, growth and the effect of enlargement to 10 new Member States.

The Cotonou agreement sets out the strategic framework for relations between the EU and countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. It was signed on 23 June 2000 at Cotonou in Benin. The Cotonou Agreement focuses on poverty reduction as its principal objective, to be achieved through political dialogue, development aid and closer economic and trade cooperation.

The revision process took place in accordance with Article 95 of the Cotonou agreement which provides for a revision clause allowing the Agreement to be adapted every 5 years (with the exception of the provisions on economic cooperation and trade which are subject to a separate procedure). At the end of February 2004, ACP and EU partners notified the provisions each party wished to revise. The negotiations were formally launched at an ACP-EU Council of Ministers meeting in Gaborone in May 2004 and were concluded on 23 February 2005.