The Council gives the Commission a mandate to negotiate these agreements and must sign the final agreement as soon as it is concluded. Twenty-five years of cooperation have shown that aid, even if it allows developing countries to survive, cannot create development. On the other hand, trade is a key development factor. The Cotonou agreement promotes, among other things, the strengthening of true economic partnership through new trade agreements. The group has made enormous efforts to attract foreign investment and has therefore sought to create a favourable legal, economic and political environment to achieve this goal. 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. 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 United Kingdom`s accession to the European Community in 1973 paved the way for the extension of Europe-Africa cooperation to The Commonwealth countries, be it Africa, the Caribbean or the Pacific. Subsequently, Spain`s accession would also have an impact on membership of the ACP group. Experts see the EPA dispute as the main obstacle to a new agreement.
But it does not appear that the EU will give in. It would also be difficult: “A new agreement cannot fundamentally influence partnership agreements. These are independent international treaties that cannot be significantly changed by a new agreement,” said expert DIE Keijzer. Instead, the EU would prefer to promise additional aid to facilitate African countries` trade with Europe: money for infrastructure or border management, for example. 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. They are subject to internal agreement between the Member States meeting in the Council. 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. In 1957, an “association scheme” was developed and resourced from the first European Development Fund (EDF). In 1963 and 1969, 18 African states and their six European counterparts signed the first and second Yaounde Conventions, supported respectively by the 2nd and 3rd EDF. The agreements focused mainly on financial, technical and commercial cooperation, particularly in the areas of economic and social infrastructure.