The High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European Commission have launched today a public consultation on the future of the partnership between the European Union and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries after 2020.
Today, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and the European Commission have launched a public consultation on the future of the partnership between the European Union and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries after 2020, when the current EU-ACP Cotonou Agreement will expire.
The Cotonou Agreement is the most comprehensive partnership agreement that the EU has to govern the relationship between the EU and the 78 developing countries in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific. It includes a political dimension, an economic cooperation and trade dimension, as well as development cooperation which is, in turn, linked to a financial instrument called the European Development Fund (EDF).
Different stakeholders and interested parties are consulted on more than 40 questions, going far beyond development cooperation and trade issues. Questions like peace and security, the fight against terrorism and organised crime, sustainable and inclusive growth, migration, political cooperation and many others are on the agenda for consultation and reflection. This consultation will run for 12 weeks from now.
High Representative / Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini said: “The relationship between the EU and ACP countries has moved beyond development cooperation and trade over the last two decades. So it's time to assess our cooperation to identify new ways for our partnership on the common challenges and interests that we all share."
European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, added: “By launching the public consultation, we are opening a debate to see on which issues a future partnership could focus on and how this could be turned into an effective vehicle to promote our common interest, given the so many challenges we are confronted with."
This consultation will be a major component of the analysis the Commission will carry out in 2016. It will assess the strengths of this Partnership Agreement as well as the possibilities for improvement.
Relations between the EU and the ACP are long standing, dating back to 1975 and the first Lomé convention. The latter was a successor to the first Convention of Yaoundé in 1963, binding the then European Economic Community and former colonies of some of its Member States. Successive partnership agreements have shaped the relationship up to the present time.
The current EU - ACP Partnership Agreement was signed on 23 June 2000 in Cotonou, Benin. Since then, it has been the framework for the EU's relations with 78 countries from Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. It was revised in 2005 and 2010, in accordance with its provisions. It was concluded for a twenty-year period and will expire on 29 February 2020. The Agreement is a legally binding instrument which establishes joint institutions and provides a framework for dialogue with each of its members. In addition to its political dimension and economic and trade cooperation dimension, the framework provides for development finance cooperation, attached to which is the European Development Fund (EDF). This is a multiannual intergovernmental fund composed of direct contributions from EU Member States, and is the only external aid instrument that does not fall directly under the EU budget.