The annual meeting of Ministers from the European Union and the countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific was an opportunity to hold fruitful and constructive discussions on the way forward for their future relationship and to take stock of the progress already made. The meeting, which took place in Lomé, Togo, was hosted by the President of Togo, Faure Gnassingbé and co-chaired by H.E. Ms Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica and H.E. Ms Ekatarina Gecheva-Zahareva Deputy Prime Minister for Judicial Reform and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria.
Future EU-ACP Partnership after 2020
The EU welcomes the adoption by the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States of its Negotiating Mandate, which will lead its members to start meaningful negotiations soon. This ACP-EU 43rd Session was crucial in taking preparatory steps towards the negotiations and underlined the importance the longstanding partners attach to their cooperation including after 2020.
The EU Commissioner for International cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, expressed his gratitude for the excellent collaboration in Lomé, and called for a new ambitious partnership: “This is a very defining moment. We are determined to strengthen and reinforce our relationship with the ACP even further and to conclude an ambitious political partnership, which will allow us to jointly address our common challenges and opportunities – to the benefit of all our citizens, both in Europe and in the ACP countries alike”.
For her part, Senator the Honourable Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica stated that the imminent expiry of the current Cotonou Partnership Agreement provides a unique opportunity for us to modernize our relationship that is fit for purpose and will help us together to refine our approaches to national and regional issues, and define our ability to contribute collectively to a stable and progressive international environment, leaving no one behind.
Outcomes of the Ministerial meeting
As like-minded partners, the ACP Group of States and the EU agreed to increase their international cooperation in key areas, such as climate change, migration and throughout the upcoming UN Conferences this year. A specific calendar should be developed accordingly in the coming weeks.
Further cooperation is expected in the area of inclusive sustainable growth as the EU and the ACP Group of States exchanged views on how to increase trade, strengthen investment and management of natural resources, addressing the vulnerabilities of ACP Countries and the situation of middle income countries and take appropriate steps in relation to issues of EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes.
Both partners reaffirmed their commitment to tackling climate change through a joint declaration in anticipation of the upcoming UNFCC 24th COP on Climate Change to be held in December 2018 in Katowice, Poland.
The EU-ACP partnership is one of the oldest and most comprehensive frameworks of cooperation of its kind. Uniting more than one hundred countries and over 1.5 billion people, the Cotonou Agreement governing EU-ACP relations is due to expire in February 2020.