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. In practice, this means that more money can be paid to “good interpreters” and that the proportion of “bad interpreters” can be reduced. The EU has negotiated a series of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the 79 ACP countries. These agreements aim to create a common trade and development partnership, supported by development aid. African members of OACPS are also offended by the fact that the EU has negotiated EPAs with individual states. The African Union (AU) is trying to establish an African free trade area. But if different states have their own agreements with the EU, that makes it difficult. “These agreements have led to a great division and fragmentation of the African position,” Carlos Lopes, the AU`s representative for relations with Europe, said in early June. The group was originally set up to coordinate cooperation between its members and the European Union. Its main objective was to negotiate and implement cooperation agreements with the European Community.
“We are in the final phase of negotiations,” a European Commission spokeswoman told the DW. More than 95% of the treaty text agrees. However, the Commission refused to provide specific information or conduct an interview. Perhaps the most radical amendment introduced by the Cotonou Agreement concerns trade cooperation. Since the first Lomé Convention in 1975, the EU has not granted reciprocal trade preferences to ACP countries. However, under the Cotonou Agreement, this system has been replaced by the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), a new regime that came into force in 2008. The new regime provides for reciprocal trade agreements, which means that not only does the EU grant duty-free access to its ACP export markets, but also that ACP countries grant duty-free access to their own markets for EU exports. 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. 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.