EU-Africa beyond Cotonou agreement

The Council of EU foreign ministers is expected to discuss the negotiating mandate for the future agreement between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. The current ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, also known as the Cotonou Agreement, will expire in February 2020.

Foreign ministers had an initial discussion during January’s Foreign Affairs Council. Development ministers had a discussion on 22 May 2018.

The Cotonou Agreement is the overarching framework for EU relations with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. It was adopted in 2000 to replace the 1975 Lomé Convention.

It is the most comprehensive partnership agreement between developing countries and the EU, covering the EU’s relations with 79 countries, including 48 countries from Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Cotonou Agreement aims to reduce and eventually eradicate poverty and contribute to the gradual integration of the ACP countries into the world economy. It is based on three pillars: development cooperation; economic and trade cooperation; political dimension.

The Cotonou agreement will expire in February 2020. Work has begun on the EU side to lay the groundwork for the future partnership with the ACP countries. The current agreement provides for the opening of negotiations by the end of August 2018 at the latest.nIn light of this, the Council is expected to adopt a decision in the first semester of 2018 on the authorisation to open negotiations and the negotiating directives.

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