Brussels, 28 September 2018 – Today, the European Commission officially launched the negotiations with the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP) on a new partnership agreement which will succeed the Cotonou Partnership Agreement.

CONCORD, the European Confederation of Development NGOs, welcomes the renewal of the agreement as it represents a great opportunity to build a people-centered cooperation among equal partners based on sustainable development objectives, Agenda 2030 principles and the Paris Agreement.

It is high time for the EU and its ACP partners to build a joint long-term vision that responds to the aspirations and the needs of their youth and addresses common future challenges, ensuring no one is left behind.

Karine Sohet

CONCORD expert on EU-ACP relations from ACT Alliance EU

CONCORD is concerned about the narrative of Africa being increasingly portrayed only as Europe’s trade and economic partner [1]. EU self-interests in the area of security, migration or the competition for accessing raw material and new markets risk jeopardising the whole agreement. The recent examples of EPAs with ACP countries [2], in which EU interests have guided the negotiations, have not been proved to deliver the expected results on development objectives and eventually negatively affected their economies.

The future of EU-ACP relations should not become the ground for the EU to achieve its short-sighted migration objectives in favour of border control and readmission. On the contrary, the new partnership should focus on creating regular pathways for migration, strengthening protection systems for persons in need of international protection and supporting ACP countries in their efforts towards displaced populations and refugees.

Fanni Bihari

CONCORD expert on migration

CONCORD is calling the EU and ACP negotiators to take the views of civil society and the interests of their citizens into account in the upcoming negotiations. By putting in place the mechanisms for an active and meaningful participation of civil society, the future agreement can ensure a mutual partnership working for the people to the people.

 

 

Footnotes:

[1] As President Juncker emphasized during his speech on the State of the European Union: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/soteu2018-speech_en_0.pdf

[2]  Report from African Trade Network – 2018:

http://www.seatiniuganda.org/publications/downloads/214-africa-trade-network-a-call-for-equitable-and-transformative-acp-eu-relations/file.html

Report from CONCORD “The EPA between the EU and West Africa: Who benefits?” – 2015:

https://library.concordeurope.org/record/1589/files/DEEEP-PAPER-2015-045.pdf