The European Union today gave its final seal of approval for a new post-Cotonou partnership between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific States after several years delay.
Carlos Zorrinho MEP (S&D, PT) and Ana Rita Sithole (Mozambique), Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, welcome today’s decision by the Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union to approve the signing of the new Partnership Agreement between the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States and the European Union which had been concluded back in April 2021
“This is a historic moment that ends months of delays that have had impact on the long-standing strategic partnership between the two parties. With this approval, they can now complete internal legal processes and move quickly towards the entry into force of the new agreement.
“This important new agreement sets the scene for alliance-building and more coordinated actions on the international stage. It substantially modernises our cooperation, improves the parliamentary dimension of our relationship, and extends the scope and scale of EU and OACPS ambitions to better address current and future challenges.”
The Co-Presidents are deeply grateful to the OACPS and EU Council Presidencies for their efforts and perseverance in overcoming the blockages to the agreement’s sign-off. They want the necessary signatures completed before the expiration on 31 October 2023 of transitional measures extending the existing agreement. They also want these institutions to consider allowing the provisional application of the new agreement to begin immediately after its signing to avoid additional delays for the strengthening of the OACPS-EU partnership.
Twenty years after its initial conclusion, the Cotonou Partnership Agreement between the EU and 78 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries should have expired in February 2020, but was extended until December 2021 as negotiations on a successor Agreement have taken longer than planned, and subsequently until June 2023. The ACP-EU framework is the most comprehensive partnership between the EU and third countries and a key foundation of EU development cooperation and external relations.
The European Parliament strongly supports a deepened and continued ACP-EU partnership that is legally binding and with joint institutions, including the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, while also supporting regionalisation in order to enhance the partnership with Africa. Parliament has repeatedly called for member states to sign the new agreement so it can enter into force.