The EU will work towards an in-depth agreement, with a common basis at ACP level, in conjunction with three tailor-made regional partnerships for Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. The application of the Cotonou Agreement has been extended until December 2020. With the deal originally set to expire in February 2020, but with negotiations on the future deal still ongoing, this was postponed until the end of the year. In July 2014, 16 West African states, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) presented an agreement with the EU on the eve of the day before. The signing process is ongoing. For Eastern and Southern Africa, Mauritius, Seychelles, Zimbabwe and Madagascar signed an EPA in 2009. The Agreement has been provisionally applied since 14 May 2012. Many African countries are calling for a new course, particularly in trade relations. The Cotonou Agreement laid the foundation for the controversial Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). In recent years, the EU has negotiated such agreements with various OACPS members. In essence, both sides agree to reduce tariffs and other barriers to trade and open their markets to the other`s products.
„The agreements are perceived as unfair in Africa,“ Maré said. The two chief negotiators met in N`djamena, Chad, to take stock of the process. Although the two sides did not agree on all areas of the Joint Foundation, they decided to start discussions on the regional pillars (EU-Africa, Caribbean, EU-Pacific). „Africa and Europe want to develop and deepen their relations. But the African side also wants its priorities to be taken more into account,“ said John Maré, a South African diplomat who has negotiated several agreements with the EU. The European Commission has officially started negotiations with ACP countries for a new Partnership Agreement to replace the Cotonou Partnership Agreement. After a multi-month pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 28-member European Union and the 79-member Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) resumed negotiations for a new agreement in June. African members of the OACPS are also offended by the fact that the EU has negotiated EPAs with some states. The African Union (AU) is trying to create an Africa-wide free trade area. But if different states have their own agreements with the EU, it makes things 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 objective of this procedure is to restore a normal relationship between the partners. In the absence of an agreement, the party that started the process may take action with regard to cooperation projects and development assistance. There is also an argument over money. The Cotonou Agreement also regulated financial relations. . . .