New ACP-EU Partnership: Towards a New Partnership For the Future Our current relations with ACP countries are governed by the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement (2000), also known as the Cotonou Agreement, which brings together more than 100 partner countries and around 1.5 billion people. It is the most comprehensive partnership agreement ever signed between the EU and third countries. The INTER partnership between the EU and acp countries is focused on the eradication of poverty and the sustainable development of ACP and EU countries. It focuses on three key policy areas: development cooperation, political dialogue and trade. Our cooperation with the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) has been around for a long time and has deepened over time, as evidenced by the successive ACP-EU partnership agreements signed in the years following the first Lomé Convention (1975). Perhaps the most radical amendment introduced by the Cotonou Agreement concerns trade cooperation. Since the first Lomé Convention in 1975, the EU has not granted reciprocal trade preferences to ACP countries. However, under the Cotonou Agreement, this system has been replaced by the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), a new regime that came into force in 2008. The new regime provides for reciprocal trade agreements, which means that not only does the EU grant duty-free access to its ACP export markets, but also that ACP countries grant duty-free access to their own markets for EU exports. We were invited to speak in Amsterdam at the informal European Council for Foreign Affairs and Development, under the Dutch Presidency of the Council of the EU. Such an invitation is unusual for a think tank.
In the minutes of the meeting, our speech “reveals several myths about the ACP-EU partnership.” Relations between Africa and the EU and post-Cotonou: African collective action or fragmentation of partnerships? Alfonso Medinilla and Jean Bossuyt, ECDPM brief, March 2019 The Yaounde II agreement expired in 1974 and was replaced by a new agreement signed and named after the capital of Togo: Lomé. The creation of a new preferential trade agreement instead of the continuation of the old one was provoked both by unsatisfactory results of the previous agreement and by changes in the European political framework. From the perspective of developing countries, the demand for further negotiations was triggered by the strong neocolonical aspects that were still visible in the Yaounde Agreement and by the disappointing economic results it had achieved. From a European perspective, the development strategy has moved from a regional approach to a more comprehensive approach with the introduction of the Generalised Preference System (GSP) in 1971. At the same time, the United Kingdom`s accession to the European Community in 1973 led to the rapid transfer of the French-speaking centre of gravity of development policy to the developing countries of the community. In addition to this work, we have published a study of four scenarios for a future partnership. These two studies have helped, by providing evidence, to lead the debate towards interest-oriented, realistic and achievable future scenarios that could benefit all stakeholders. Under the new agreement, the EU can be more selective and flexible in allocating and using its development resources. Endowments are based on an assessment of a country`s needs and performance and include the ability to regularly adjust financial resources.