The Interim EPA between the EU and the Pacific ACP countries was signed in July 2009 by Papua New Guinea and Fiji in December 2009. Papua New Guinea ratified it in May 2011. In July 2014, Fiji decided to begin provisional implementation of the agreement. Of the 14 Pacific countries, Papua New Guinea and Fiji account for the bulk of EU-Pacific trade. There is also a dispute over money. The Cotonou agreement also regulated financial relations. Over the past six years, OACPS has jointly received more than 30 billion euros ($35 billion) in development aid from Brussels. Governments in poor countries want this to continue. “THE ACP countries have insisted that a financial protocol be part of the convention,” says Keijzer.
On the other hand, the EU is cautious and only wants to make general commitments. In the future, the money would come from the regular budget. However, this decision must be taken annually by the Member States. A risk to OACPS. Many African countries are calling for a new course, especially in terms of trade relations. The Cotonou agreement laid the groundwork for the controversial Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). In recent years, the EU has negotiated such agreements with various OACPS members. Essentially, both parties agree to reduce tariffs and other trade barriers and open their markets to the other party`s products. “Agreements are seen as unfair in Africa,” says Maré. Our cooperation with the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) has been around for a long time and has deepened over time, as evidenced by the successive ACP-EU partnership agreements signed in the years following the first Lomé Convention (1975). Our current relations with ACP countries are governed by the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement (2000), also known as the Cotonou Agreement, which brings together more than 100 partner countries and about 1.5 billion people.
It is the most comprehensive partnership agreement ever signed between the EU and third countries. The EU funds most of its development programmes for ACP countries through the European Development Fund (EDF). These funds are not part of the EU`s overall budget. They are subject to internal agreement between the Member States meeting in the Council. For the East and Southern Africa region, Mauritius, Seychelles, Zimbabwe and Madagascar signed an EPA in 2009. The agreement has been implemented on an interim basis since 14 May 2012. Also in July 2014, negotiations with the countries of the Southern African Development Community concluded successfully. The agreement was signed on 10 June 2016 in Kasane, Botswana. It entered the provisional application on 10 October 2016. Experts see the EPA dispute as the main obstacle to a new agreement. But it does not appear that the EU will give in.
It would also be difficult: “A new agreement cannot fundamentally influence partnership agreements. These are independent international treaties that cannot be significantly changed by a new agreement,” said expert DIE Keijzer. Instead, the EU would prefer to promise additional aid to facilitate African countries` trade with Europe: money for infrastructure or border management, for example. The future agreement is expected to cover priority areas such as.B.: in July 2014, 16 West African states, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) reached an agreement with the EU. The signing process is currently underway. Under the new agreement, the EU can be more selective and flexible in allocating and using its development resources. Endowments are based on an assessment of a country`s needs and performance and include the ability to regularly adjust financial resources.