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Wednesday, 24 July 2013

EP accepts second revision of Cotonou Agreement

On June 13, the European Parliament (EP) approved – with considerable reticence – the final version of the second revision  of the framework agreement between the EU and the ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) countries (the Cotonou Agreement). They argued that the agreement is not explicit enough on the human rights, and particularly on the homosexuality chapters.

The Cotonou Agreement is a cornerstone of the cooperation and trade relations between the EU and the ACP countries.
It includes a review clause that allows an adaptation of the text every five years until 2020. Negotiations on the first revision of the Agreement were launched in May 2004 and concluded in February 2005. The revised agreement entered into force on 1 July 2008.
Begun in 2010, the second revision of the Cotonou Agreement, was extensive. To date, the agreement has been ratified by 20 of the 28 EU Member States, and 54 of the 79 countries that are members of the ACP group.

The final revision - that received the approval of the EP on June 13-  recognizes the particular importance of the fight against climate change, of food security, and promotes regional integration and democratization of African countries. But for the MEPs, the political dialogue between the EU and ACP was a failure. They demand for the agreement to include binding and non-negotiable clauses on human rights". To date, "homosexuality is still considered a crime in 38 ACP countries, homosexuals are punishable by death in five of them," say the MPs. "Not saying anything means tacitly accepting these laws," an MEP, who wants to see the subject explicitly mentioned in the agreement, argued.
The MEPs point to other gaps in the agreement, as the absence of any statements on "the future ways of financing the EU-ACP cooperation(...), the adaptation to climate change, and adjustment costs associated with the introduction of EPAs ".

Trade (including fair trade), finance, taxation, or the use of microcredit are also missing from the text, MEPs say, regretting a resolution they adopted in 2010, and which gad included these aspects.

EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs acknowledged that "the results [were] not optimal."

In the same time, the ACP believes that the agreement respects the  "lowest common denominator".

Source: EurActiv.fr