1 Summary

The expiry of the Cotonou Agreement in 2020 offers all parties a natural moment to take a critical look at whether there is a need for a specific successor to the ACP-EU partnership and, if so, what its form and content should be. Although formal negotiations on a successor to Cotonou need not start until 1 October 2018, and this advisory report thus comes at an early stage of the process, there is good reason for both parties to make a thorough strategic analysis of what the partnership under the Cotonou Agreement has achieved, and what goals and interests it could serve in the future.

The ACP countries have been involved in a process of reflection for some time. Based on discussions with experts, the AIV considers it not unreasonable to expect that the ACP group will choose to continue to exist as a collective and as an organisation and will have an interest in continuing its partnership with the EU. The analysis presented in this report offers a number of other arguments in favour of continuing the partnership and for expanding it in new directions.

Although the original Georgetown Agreement saw the ACP primarily in terms of its relationship with the EU, information on the process of reorientation suggests that many within the ACP group no longer see the relationship with the EU as an exclusive – or even necessary – reason for the group’s continued existence. A focus on the further development of South-South cooperation is presented as one argument for capitalizing on the advantages of the tricontinental nature of the ACP group and developing it further as an instrument to promote mutual trade and economic relations. This is an interesting idea that could enable the group to expand from an export-oriented partner of the EU to an organisation focusing primarily on cooperation among its own members. The ACP’s relatively favourable position in maintaining contacts with other actors, such as the BRICS countries, is also seen as a potential starting point for finding ways towards a less onesided, exclusive and dependent relationship with the EU. This would reflect the strongly increased influence of non-European powers in the ACP region.

For the full abstract see: http://aiv-advies.nl/84h


Arts, K., van Reisen, M., Berendsen, B., Opschoor, H., Richelle, K., van Zuthpen, N., & de Keizer, P. (2015). ACP-EU Cooperation After 2020: Towards A New Partnership. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/79390