It is the most comprehensive partnership agreement between developing countries and the EU, covering EU relations with 79 countries, 48 of them from sub-Saharan Africa. 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. It also makes it clear that all those who discuss the problems with the ACP countries in Brussels clearly show that there is a gap between the enthusiasm generated by the continuation of the agreement and the effective implementation of the objectives. The Cotonou agreement expires in 2020. The Trade, Aid and Development Assistance Mechanism, which links 79 nations from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) to Europe, could then be completed without a successor agreement. The study concludes that there are three options that the EU and ACP countries could consider: the regionalisation of Europe`s relations with the ACP countries, which will happen anyway if no successor to the Cotonou agreement is concluded; modernization of the current Cotonou Agreement, in a way that is misleading to current realities but less focused on development aid; and ensure that, in each regional agreement, so many aspects of Cotonou`s main provisions are maintained. Meanwhile, a spokesman for the European Commission said that the text of the new post-Cotonou agreement had been 95% finalised. 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. 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.