The Cotonou Agreement framing the EU partnership with ACP (African Caribbean Pacific) countries will expire in 2020. What will come next? CONCORD Europe submitted a response to the EU’s joint public consultation at the end of 2015.

The partnership with ACP countries is the longest-standing and most comprehensive one the EU has ever engaged in. It is currently framed within the Cotonou Partnership Agreement (CPA). This agreement regulates the ACP- EU relations in several areas relevant to CONCORD’s work.

The CPA will expire in 2020 and its revision will not just impact EU’s relations with the 79 partner countries in those 3 regions, but also EU’s external relations as a whole. Upcoming ACP-EU negotiations will cover several areas relevant to CONCORD’s work: What is the space of civil society? What happens if the European Development Fund is budgetised? How does trade relate to development policy? How can the EU ensure Human rights are respected while keeping an equal partnership? How to ensure Policy Cohenrece for Sustainable Development? The role and consequences of migration? There are many questions underlying this partnership that deserve detailed thought.

Currently the EU is undertaking steps to determine its position in view of the upcoming negotiations with the ACP Group of States. In order to inform discussions, the European Commission and the European External Action Service launched a Joint Consultation Paper  ‘Towards a new partnership between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries after 2020’, followed by a public consultation running from 6 October to 31 December 2015. CONCORD Europe submitted a response to this consultation to ensure that after 2020 relations between the ACP countries and the EU will be based on the following key principles, in a nutshell:

  1. Any future partnership between the ACP-EU will have to be framed in the context of the new Agenda 2030 and should contribute to its implementation at all levels. The new sustainable development goals address global challenges in an integrated way and provide a great opportunity for further tackling them jointly, moving away from the donor-recipient dynamic as they are universally applicable. Any future partnership should support a development model that is people and planet centered, addresses all dimensions of sustainable development and respects human rights.
  2. The future framework should continue to support and encourage CSOs to play a decisive role in addressing global challenges. The legal enshrinement of civil society as an actor in the CPA should be maintained and strengthened at operational level. The revised partnership needs to keep its recognition and scale up the engagement with non-state actors, in particular CSOs.
  3. Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development, which is a legal obligation for EU Member States and which is now also included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, is essential to promote sustainable development. The future partnership should therefore capture the PCSD principle and include a commitment towards its full implementation in all policies having a direct or indirect impact on people’s rights and livelihoods.

More information on CONCORD’s position on the ACP-EU relations can be found in the response to the Joint Consultation Paper.