Brussels, 4 October 2016/ European Parliament Press Release: The Cotonou Agreement between the African, Caribbean and Pacific States and the EU needs to be reformed in order to improve its effectiveness, MEPs said in a resolution adopted Tuesday. They call for a new legally binding framework that focuses on global development goals, human rights and enhances regional cooperation.

“This report is a sound basis for a new partnership that offers a strong and effective structure. It is all the more important for human rights, where political dialogue was not very effective in the past. In a new agreement this should be strengthened. This would serve the interest of all participating nations” – Norbert Neuser (S&D, DE) rapporteur of the report said before the vote.

The non-binding resolution was adopted with 489 votes to 146 with 37 abstentions.

Focus on SDGs and regions

Sustainable Development Goals must be placed at the heart of a new agreement with proper monitoring and accountability mechanisms, MEPs stressed. Tailored regional agreements are also vital for effective cooperation. These should take into account existing regional organisations and strategies, they added.

Monitor human rights

The agreement beyond 2020 must leave behind the donor-recipient mentality and promote the principle of ownership. Good governance needs to be a crucial element of future relations along with an improved monitoring of human rights. In this respect, the European Parliament would welcome regular evaluation and joint reports in all areas. A stronger participation of national parliaments, local authorities, civil society and the private sector is also indispensable, the report says.

Prevent crises

A new cooperation should strengthen the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) that provides for an open democratic dialogue on difficult and sensitive subjects. MEPs advocate for the JPA to include parliamentary representatives of the opposition too. These adjustments could promote political dialogue and prevent political crises, MEPs said. Next steps: The EP’s work is feeding into the European Commission’s proposal coming out at the end of November 2016.

Background: The ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000, was concluded for a 20-year period from 2000 to 2020 and it is the most comprehensive partnership agreement between developing countries and the EU. Its three pillars are development, political and economic and trade cooperation, it has a joint institutional framework, and a large budget in the form of the European Development Fund, which MEPs would like to see in the regular budget of the EU. In 2010, the cooperation has been adapted to new challenges such as climate change, food security, regional integration, state fragility and aid effectiveness, but few concrete results were achieved according to MEPs.

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution.

Further information

• Steps of the procedure:

• Committee on Development:

• Norbert Neuser (S&D, DE):


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