|Author (Corporate)||Cardiff EDC|
Information Guide on the negotiations undertaken between the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries towards setting up a Partnership Agreement for the period after 2020 (or post-Cotonou).
Relations between the EU and the ACP countries date back to before 1975 and the first Lomé Convention. Successive partnership agreements have shaped the relationship throughout the decade. The existing ACP-EU Partnership Agreement (CPA) was signed in 2000 in Cotonou - hence the name 'Cotonou Agreement'. This CPA established that negotiations must open 18 months before its expiration in 2020.
The European Commission published a Recommendation in December 2017 in support of an umbrella agreement defining common values and interests and three distinct tailor-made protocols with the three regions. The Recommendation was adopted by the Council of the European Union in June 2018. A month earlier, the ACP Council of Ministers adopted its own negotiating position.
The first round of negotiations was launched in October 2018 and were concluded on 14 December. A second round took place in January 2019. On 4 April, negotiators launched the talks for the three regional protocols. In May 2019, negotiators announced their willingness to set transitional measures should a new agreement not be concluded by February 2020. On 28 September 2019, negotiators reached an agreement on the economic priorities of the agreement.
The ACP Group of Countries endorsed a revised version of its Constitutive Act (Georgetown Agreement) in December 2019, which included the renaming of the Group to Organisation of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (OACPS). This became effective in April 2020.
On 14 February 2020, the two sides agreed to extend the existing Cotonou Agreement unchanged until December 2020, thus avoiding its expiration on 29 February. At the meeting, the negotiation teams also made progress in relation to the regional partnerships and agreed on key chapters for these within the new OACPS-EU Partnership. The two sides returned to high-level political talks on 12 June, following an interruption due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
A political agreement between the two sides was announced on 3 December 2020. The new Partnership Agreement is composed by a "common foundation", which sets out the values and principles bringing the EU and OACPS together and indicates the strategic priority areas that both intend to work on. These are:
The Agreement also combines this foundation with three specific, action-oriented regional protocols.
The two sides also announced a second extension to the validity of the existing Cotonou Agreement until November 2021, to allow for internal procedures to approve, sign and ratify the new partnership. The new Partnership Agreement was initialled on 15 April 2021, marking the formal conclusion of the negotiations.
|Subject Categories||Politics and International Relations, Trade|
|Subject Tags||Bilateral Relations, External Trade | Trade Agreements|
|Keywords||Economic Partnership Agreement [EPA]
|International Organisations||African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States [ACP], European Union [EU]|