After a pause of several months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 28 members of the European Union and the 79 members of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) resumed negotiations on a new agreement in June. CONCORD adopted the document “CONCORD`s vision for the future EU-ACP Partnership Agreement: putting sustainable development and human rights at the centre”: The document examines and addresses the Foundation`s “6 strategic priorities” in the future EU-ACP agreement. It follows the structure of the EU`s mandate, but makes clear recommendations based on civil society views on the future of the post-Cotonou Agreement. Experts see the EPA dispute as the biggest obstacle to a new agreement. But it does not seem that the EU is giving in. It would also be difficult: “A new agreement cannot fundamentally influence partnership agreements. These are independent international treaties that cannot be significantly changed by a new agreement,” said Keijzer, an expert from DIE. Instead, the EU would prefer to promise additional aid to facilitate African states` trade with Europe: money for infrastructure measures or border management, for example. Things were not as simple as they were in 2000, when the Cotonou Agreement entered into force.
“Africa and Europe want to broaden and deepen their relations. But the African side also wants its priorities to be given more consideration,” said John Maré, who, as a South African diplomat, has negotiated several agreements with the EU. The EU has negotiated a series of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the 79 ACP countries. These agreements aim to create a common partnership on trade and development supported by development support. The ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly is an advisory body composed equally of representatives of the EU and ACP countries. The Assembly promotes democratic processes and allows for better understanding between the peoples of the EU and those of the ACP countries. It will also examine issues related to development and the ACP-EU partnership, including Economic Partnership Agreements. The two chief negotiators met in N`djamena, Chad, to take stock of the process. .