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International Agreements in Progress - After Cotonou: Towards a new agreement with the African, Caribbean and Pacific states

12-10-2020

The Cotonou partnership agreement between the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) states is due to expire at the end of 2020. The then ACP Group of States – which later became the Organisation of the ACP States (OACPS) – and the EU adopted their negotiating mandates in May and June 2018 respectively, thus starting negotiations for a 'post-Cotonou' agreement in September 2018. The main challenge for the EU is to maintain its cooperation with the three OACPS sub-regions ...

The Cotonou partnership agreement between the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) states is due to expire at the end of 2020. The then ACP Group of States – which later became the Organisation of the ACP States (OACPS) – and the EU adopted their negotiating mandates in May and June 2018 respectively, thus starting negotiations for a 'post-Cotonou' agreement in September 2018. The main challenge for the EU is to maintain its cooperation with the three OACPS sub-regions and to continue to promote the values enshrined in the EU Treaties. At the same time, the new partnership should take into account the United Nations' sustainable development goals, the redefinition of European strategies in the concerned regions, the new ambitions of the ACP states and the changing balance of power at the global level. Both the EU and the OACPS have agreed on the principle of a common foundation complemented by three regional protocols. These multi-level negotiations and the ongoing discussions on the next EU multiannual budget prevented the new agreement from being finalised by February 2020, the initial expiry date set in the Cotonou Agreement. Thus, in order to avoid a legal vacuum in relations, the provisions of the latter have been extended until the end of 2020. Negotiations are now in their final stages, however some complex issues remain to be solved, among which the institutional setting of the partnership, including the future of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly. Fifth edition. The ‘International Agreements in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the process, from initial discussions through to ratification. To view earlier editions of this briefing (in French), please see the EPRS blog, https://epthinktank.eu/2018/07/09/le-futur-partenariat-de-lunion-europeenne-avec-les-pays-dafrique-des-caraibes-et-du-pacifique-international-agreements-in-progress/.

Future partnership between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific states (‘post-Cotonou’)

11-07-2019

The Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries expires in February 2020. The main challenge for the EU is to maintain its relations in the region while remaining faithful to the values set out in the European Treaties. The renegotiation of the Cotonou Agreement provides an opportunity to streamline relations between the ACP countries and the Union, taking into account the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the redefining of Europe’s strategies ...

The Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries expires in February 2020. The main challenge for the EU is to maintain its relations in the region while remaining faithful to the values set out in the European Treaties. The renegotiation of the Cotonou Agreement provides an opportunity to streamline relations between the ACP countries and the Union, taking into account the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the redefining of Europe’s strategies in the regions concerned, the new ambitions of the ACP countries and changes in the balance of power at a global level. The question of financing is also on the table. The EU sees promoting prosperity, stability and good governance in the ACP countries as a way of helping to address the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement. The ACP Group adopted its negotiating mandate in May 2018. The European Union adopted its negotiating mandate in June 2018, proposing a common ‘Foundation’ supplemented by specific protocols with the three subregions. The negotiations began in September 2018.

LGBTI in Africa: Widespread discrimination against people with non-conforming sexual orientations and gender identities

16-05-2019

Three out of five African countries have laws criminalising homosexuality and the public expression of sexual or gender behaviour that does not conform with heterosexual norms. These same laws even sometimes punish LGBTI (lesbian, gay, trans, intersex) rights advocacy. Some African countries have partly decriminalised LGBTI persons or given them better protection. However, across the continent – with the notable exception of South Africa – such persons are still far from fully enjoying the same rights ...

Three out of five African countries have laws criminalising homosexuality and the public expression of sexual or gender behaviour that does not conform with heterosexual norms. These same laws even sometimes punish LGBTI (lesbian, gay, trans, intersex) rights advocacy. Some African countries have partly decriminalised LGBTI persons or given them better protection. However, across the continent – with the notable exception of South Africa – such persons are still far from fully enjoying the same rights as other citizens. Furthermore, recent years have seen the emergence of a worrying trend: the adoption of tougher legislation coupled with clampdowns on homosexuals. An argument frequently used in support of discriminatory legislative and other measures targeting LGBTI persons is that non-conforming sexual orientations and gender identities were brought to Africa by Western colonisers and are contrary to the 'African values'. This claim has long been proven false by academic research, but tolerance for LGBTI is still very low in most African countries, and LGBTI people are all too often exposed to discrimination and violence. Against this backdrop, the EU institutions and Member States have a difficult task: on the one hand, they are committed under the Treaties to promote the EU core values in their external relations, and to monitor and tackle abuses in their partner countries. On the other hand, their actions and declarations in this area risk reinforcing the perception that the EU is trying to impose non-African values on Africa, all the more so since the notion of sexual orientation and gender identity as grounds for discrimination is contested by African countries in the multilateral arena.

An overview of the EU-ACP countries' economic partnership agreements: Building a new trade relationship

03-07-2018

In line with the objective enshrined in the Cotonou Partnership Agreement (signed in 2000), the EU has sought to update its preferential trade relationship with the ACP countries by establishing free-trade areas with regional groupings. As well as allowing ACP countries to continue exporting their products to the EU without any restriction, this would also ensure compliance with WTO rules. The negotiation process has been longer and more complicated than initially expected. So far, it has ushered ...

In line with the objective enshrined in the Cotonou Partnership Agreement (signed in 2000), the EU has sought to update its preferential trade relationship with the ACP countries by establishing free-trade areas with regional groupings. As well as allowing ACP countries to continue exporting their products to the EU without any restriction, this would also ensure compliance with WTO rules. The negotiation process has been longer and more complicated than initially expected. So far, it has ushered in nine agreements covering more than half (51) of the ACP countries. Some of these agreements are interim, others are final; seven are already under provisional application. Economic partnership agreements are development-oriented asymmetric agreements providing important advantages and safeguards to ACP countries, in order to foster their sustainable economic development, regional integration and integration on world markets. They are the first attempt to liberalise trade between economies with such a disparate level of development, which also possibly explains the difficulties encountered during the negotiations. Despite the EU's initial ambitions to conclude modern comprehensive agreements that also cover trade in services and trade-related issues, this has been fully possible only in the EPA with the Cariforum region; in the other EPAs, these elements have been left for future negotiations.

A renewed partnership with the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific

17-04-2018

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the above-mentioned impact assessment (IA), which originally accompanied the joint communication on a renewed partnership with the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, published on 22 November 2016. Subsequently, on 12 December 2017, the Commission adopted a recommendation for a Council decision authorising the opening of negotiations with the countries of the Cotonou Agreement, which was referred to ...

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the above-mentioned impact assessment (IA), which originally accompanied the joint communication on a renewed partnership with the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, published on 22 November 2016. Subsequently, on 12 December 2017, the Commission adopted a recommendation for a Council decision authorising the opening of negotiations with the countries of the Cotonou Agreement, which was referred to Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET). The Commission considers the analysis and conclusions of the impact assessment conducted in 2016 for the joint communication to be valid for the December 2017 recommendation for the opening of negotiations, which are to begin officially before 1 September 2018.

International Agreements in Progress: Economic Partnership Agreement with the East African Community

16-04-2018

The current ACP-EU Partnership Agreement (the 'Cotonou Partnership Agreement') features a provision making it possible for the EU to negotiate different economic partnership agreements (EPAs) with regional ACP sub-groups. This provision was needed for the partnership to be brought into compliance with the World Trade Organization's rules. Negotiations for an EPA with the members of the East African Community (EAC) – at the time: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda – were finalised in October ...

The current ACP-EU Partnership Agreement (the 'Cotonou Partnership Agreement') features a provision making it possible for the EU to negotiate different economic partnership agreements (EPAs) with regional ACP sub-groups. This provision was needed for the partnership to be brought into compliance with the World Trade Organization's rules. Negotiations for an EPA with the members of the East African Community (EAC) – at the time: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda – were finalised in October 2014. South Sudan, which joined the EAC in 2016, did not take part in the negotiations, but can join the agreement once it comes into force. Once it enters into force, the EU-EAC EPA will provide immediate duty-free, quota-free access to the EU market for all EAC exports, combined with partial and gradual opening of the EAC market to imports from the EU. The EPA contains detailed provisions on sustainable agriculture and fisheries, rules of origin, and sanitary and phytosanitary measures. The parties are committed to concluding additional negotiations within five years of the entry into force of the agreement. The signing of the EPA has been stalled because of discussions within the EAC. Kenya is the only EAC country to have ratified the agreement, in order not to lose free access to the EU market. Other EAC member states, being least developed countries, still enjoy free access and some of them have pushed for further clarifications on the consequences of the EPA for their economies before the EAC endorses the agreement. First edition. The 'International Agreements in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the process, from initial discussions through to ratification.

Workshop "Anti-corruption provisions in EU free trade and investment agreements: Delivering on clean trade"

28-03-2018

International trade agreements have the potential to help breaking the vicious circle of corruption in economies based on privileged connections rather than fair competition. They increase competition in the removal of tariffs and so diminish the power of rentier companies which influence domestic regulation in their favour. They also contribute to a fairer business environment through their transparency provisions. Trade openness, red tape reduction and fiscal transparency, especially transparency ...

International trade agreements have the potential to help breaking the vicious circle of corruption in economies based on privileged connections rather than fair competition. They increase competition in the removal of tariffs and so diminish the power of rentier companies which influence domestic regulation in their favour. They also contribute to a fairer business environment through their transparency provisions. Trade openness, red tape reduction and fiscal transparency, especially transparency of procurement, play positive roles in widening control of corruption. They can be more easily influenced by external actors than the other important control of corruption factors: judicial independence, freedom of the press or the demand from civil society for good governance. This study ordered by the INTA Committee argues that indirect good governance policies which increase competition and subvert power and economic monopolies or quasi monopolies are far more effective than direct anticorruption policies, which in relying on domestic implementation tend to fall into the vicious circle again. The study presents options characterised as an ‘economist’s approach’ with an apparently more modest but effective good governance package, a ‘lawyer’s’ approach’ with firm anticorruption language but unenforceable provisions even in EU countries (on bribery, for instance), and a ‘holistic’ approach where the EU would coordinate across international trade, promotion of norms and development aid. The three options may be used alternatively, depending on the degree of development and quality of governance of the trading partner. The study was presented at a workshop of the INTA committee on 24 January 2018.

New priorities for EU–Africa cooperation

16-11-2017

As the EU and Africa prepare to redefine their priorities for cooperation under the framework of the Africa-EU Joint Strategy adopted ten years ago, the focus is on the need to invest in youth. The issue has become prominent against the background of demographic growth in Africa and increasing irregular migration from the continent to Europe. The European Parliament has outlined its recommendations, ahead of the EU-Africa summit scheduled for the end of November. This is an updated version of an ...

As the EU and Africa prepare to redefine their priorities for cooperation under the framework of the Africa-EU Joint Strategy adopted ten years ago, the focus is on the need to invest in youth. The issue has become prominent against the background of demographic growth in Africa and increasing irregular migration from the continent to Europe. The European Parliament has outlined its recommendations, ahead of the EU-Africa summit scheduled for the end of November. This is an updated version of an 'at a glance' note published prior to the November I plenary session - PE 608.801.

ACP-EU relations and the Joint Africa-EU strategy

15-11-2017

The Cotonou Agreement, a treaty binding the EU and 78 ACP countries, the majority of them from sub-Saharan Africa, is set to expire in 2020. Since its inception in 2000, major changes have occurred and new issues have emerged, requiring a broader approach. For the African states parties to the Cotonou Agreement, the Joint Africa-EU strategy could be an appropriate platform to reflect on their future relations with the EU.

The Cotonou Agreement, a treaty binding the EU and 78 ACP countries, the majority of them from sub-Saharan Africa, is set to expire in 2020. Since its inception in 2000, major changes have occurred and new issues have emerged, requiring a broader approach. For the African states parties to the Cotonou Agreement, the Joint Africa-EU strategy could be an appropriate platform to reflect on their future relations with the EU.

New priorities for EU–Africa cooperation

08-11-2017

As the EU and Africa prepare to redefine their priorities for cooperation under the framework of the Africa-EU Joint Strategy adopted ten years ago, the European Parliament will debate, during the first November plenary session, a resolution outlining its position on the issue, ahead of the EU-Africa summit scheduled for the end of November. This summit will focus on the need to invest in youth. The issue has become prominent against the background of demographic growth in Africa and increasing irregular ...

As the EU and Africa prepare to redefine their priorities for cooperation under the framework of the Africa-EU Joint Strategy adopted ten years ago, the European Parliament will debate, during the first November plenary session, a resolution outlining its position on the issue, ahead of the EU-Africa summit scheduled for the end of November. This summit will focus on the need to invest in youth. The issue has become prominent against the background of demographic growth in Africa and increasing irregular migration from the continent to Europe.

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