European Commission - Press release
Brussels, 12 December 2017
The European Commission has today presented a recommendation to the Council, including a proposal for negotiating directives. This is an important milestone towards opening negotiations with the countries of the Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States (ACP).
High Representative/Vice-President, Federica Mogherini, stated: "The EU and the ACP countries represent together more than 100 countries, and more than half of the United Nations member states. Together, we have an important role in shaping the global agenda and international cooperation. As an essential part of our commitment to multilateralism, modernising our ACP-EU partnership will allow us to jointly tackle today's global challenges of building peaceful and resilient states, ensuring respect of human rights, fundamental freedoms, and democratic principles."
Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, stated: "Renewing our partnership with the ACP countries is a unique opportunity to shape a true partnership of equals, moving beyond traditional donor-recipient perceptions. Only together can we achieve sustainable development. Only our joint commitment can lead us to tangible results in areas such as economic growth, jobs and investment or climate change and bring forward the sustainable development agenda."
The recommendation by the Commission sets out the basis and the main orientations for a modernised political partnership between equals. The Commission's ambition is to strongly focus on common interests and values, and to go beyond development policy only.
It focusses on obtaining results in key areas such as democracy and human rights, economic growth and investment, climate change, poverty eradication, peace and security and migration. The Commission also highlights the importance of promoting a multi-stakeholder approach by involving a wide variety of actors in dialogue and cooperation. Today's recommendation draws upon an inclusive consultation process with both EU and ACP stakeholders.
In February 2020, the Cotonou Agreement between the members of the Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States, on the one hand, and the European Union and its member states, on the other, will expire. In pursuance of the related provision in the Agreement, negotiations on how to govern future relations have to start not later than August 2018.
The expiry of the agreement and the pursuit of a renewed partnership is a strategic opportunity for the parties to strengthen their longstanding relations and make these responsive to the challenges of a changed global context, focusing on common and intersected interests and shared responsibilities.
On the basis of the joint communication from the Commission and High Representative Mogherini, issued in November 2016, the Foreign Ministers of the EU had an exchange of views on future relations with the ACP countries at the Foreign Affairs Council of May 2017.