International Agreements in Progress - The Samoa Agreement with African, Caribbean and Pacific States

Briefing 11-12-2023

On 15 November 2023, the European Union (EU) and its Member States signed a new partnership agreement (referred to as the 'Samoa Agreement') with member states of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS). The multiple negotiation levels, the coronavirus crisis and difficulties in reaching agreement on sensitive issues, such as migration management and sexual and reproductive health and rights, prevented the new agreement from being finalised by the initial expiry date set in the Cotonou Agreement. It took more than two years of negotiations before the text of a renewed partnership agreement was initialled in April 2021, and two more years for the EU Member States to resolve dissenting views before signing. The future agreement will be provisionally applied from January 2024, and further legal procedures will be required before it can enter fully into force, notably ratification by at least two-thirds (53) of OACPS members. The Samoa Agreement is based on six key priorities: human rights, democracy and governance; peace and security; human and social development; inclusive, sustainable economic growth and development; environmental sustainability and climate change; and migration and mobility. The EU and the OACPS agreed on the principle of a common foundation complemented by three regional protocols (for African, Caribbean, and Pacific OACPS members respectively). The European Parliament succeeded in maintaining the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly; three regional parliamentary assemblies will be created in the partnership's future institutional set-up. 10th edition of a briefing previously entitled 'After Cotonou'. To view earlier editions of this briefing, please see the EPRS blog. 'After Cotonou' 10th edition. The 'International Agreements in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the process, from initial discussions through to ratification.