The European Union and the rest of the world. The future developments of the Cotonou agreement

September 11, 2017
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In effect since June 23, 2000, the Cotonou Agreement (named after the city of Benin where it was signed) has regulated the relations between the European Union, on one side, and the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific on the other, with the threefold purpose of promoting development aid, political cooperation as well as economic and trade collaborations.

With the intended duration of said agreement (twenty years, until 2020) near its expiration date and in the face of a forthcoming renegotiation, what are the future prospects of this partnership? Which developments can be expected, and what types of improvements are desirable? To answer these and other questions, the LUISS School of Government – together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – organized a seminar on “The EU-ACP relations after 2020: Towards a new perspective” on June 17, 2017.

Numerous considerations and assessments have been produced during the meeting. Above all else, there is a need to rethink the agreement with a greater attention both to the differences and regional realities of the countries involved, and to the new challenges such as climate change and migration. It is, of course, a good opportunity to improve Europe’s relations with its global partners, an area for action in which Italy wants and should be a leading player, as shown by the current migrant crisis and the role played in it by our country.

There are, however, issues that can make the drafting of a new pact more problematic. Firstly, the countries involved have different characteristics and needs, which must be balanced and equally met; as a matter of fact, it is not a foregone conclusion that African, Caribbean and Pacific countries are willing to accept the above grouping and won’t ask instead for a more specific treatment. From a point of view internal to the European Union, however, it remains to be determined how the agreement will be translated into the current institutional setting of the EU itself; Finally, the Member States do not seem to concur on the content of the new deal.

The seminar was attended by numerous experts, including: Cristina Fasone (LUISS), Maurizio Carbone (University of Glasgow), Lorenzo Fioramonti (University of Pretoria), Guia Migani (CETHIS). A complete account of the event (available as a PDF on the LUISS Open platform) was drawn up by Ivan Criscuoli, a student reading for the Master in Law and Government of the European Union (jointly promoted by the LUISS School of Law and dedicated to all legal, institutional and political matters concerning the European Union), along with Tiziano Zgaga, tutor for the students of the aforementioned Master and PhD student in Political Science at LUISS.

The EU-ACP relations after 2020: towards a new partnership?