Dietmar Nickel

What after Cotonou?

The Future Cooperation between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States

SWP Research Paper 2012/RP 09, June 2012, 26 Pages

At the end of 2020, the Cotonou Agreement, which regulates the relations between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States, will expire. It is open, if, as provided for by the Agreement, this historical development from Yaoundé and Lomé will see a prolongation.

On the one hand, signs seem to multiply that there may be no common agreement between the ACP States as a whole and the EU after 2020. The EU enters into strategic partnerships separately with Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. It also strives to conclude Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with all ACP States. Relations with the ACP group could therefore be replaced by two-tier agreements with all parts of the current group which would break up the historically grown present structure. Under certain conditions, such a new system could replace the current one in an adequate manner. Hereby it would re-organize the EU’s external relations with the world.

On the other hand, the EU would miss an emerging global cooperation with the ACP, which just seems to reinvent itself. The European Commission and the European External Action Service will have the duty, in the coming years and together with the ACP, to explore the potential of such a global cooperation and its adequate form. The political impulse for this could also be given by the European Parliament.