The Parliamentary Assembly of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, has called on member states to maintain a united front when negotiating a new agreement with the European Union following the Cotonou Agreement that expires in 2020.
The Cotonou Agreement is a treaty between the EU and the ACP that was signed in June 2000 in Cotonou, Benin’s largest city. It entered into force in 2003 and was subsequently revised in 2005 and 2010.
It is regarded as the most comprehensive partnership agreement between developing countries and the EU and in 2010, ACP-EU cooperation has been adapted to new challenges such as climate change, food security, regional integration, state fragility and aid effectiveness.
The fundamental principles of the Cotonou Agreement include equality of partners, global participation, dialogue and regionalisation. The agreement is re-examined every five years.
The ACP legislators, who met here earlier this month, adopted a resolution urging ACP member states “to maintain its unity and undertake the negotiation of the Post Cotonou Agreement as a single entity in line with the vision and mission of the ACP Group as articulated at the 7th and 8th Summit and the ACP Policy Framework document “Towards the ACP We Want”.
The Parliamentary Assembly said it also wanted the member states “to remain committed to the ideals and values expressed in the ACP Policy framework document” that was adopted by the ACP Council of Ministers at their meeting here in May last year.
Earlier this year, the ACP Secretary General, Dr. PI, Gomes told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that Caribbean countries would have to quickly develop their strategy priorities as Europe begins the process of negotiating a new opened agreement with the ACP.
The Guyana-born Gomes said the proposals will form the basis for the EU negotiating memorandum to be exchanged with the 79-member ACP group in May and that the negotiations would begin in Brussels over the coming weeks.
“We on our side in the ACP will be working on how we want to shape our negotiating mandate around three levels,” he added.
The assembly said that giving due regard to the need for “robust and even stronger objectives that will tackle the current challenges in ACP countries,” it is convinced that the ability to address these challenges will be achieved through a model of unity of the African Caribbean and Pacific states.