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 a 1996 Green Paper, the Commission defined the founding principles of the Convention, which would have replaced Lomé IV (which was due to expire in February 2000) in order to bring it in line with the rules of the new World Trade Organization (WTO). Negotiations began in September 1998 and ended in June 2000 with the signing of the Cotonou Agreement for a period of 20 years. The agreement introduced a number of new elements: it allowed non-state actors (private sector, trade unions, civil society) to participate in the definition of development strategies; Trade policy was no longer seen as an aid instrument, but as an objective in itself; and the tariff advantages granted to ACP countries have had to be phased out because they are at odds with WTO rules. It was planned to replace them with economic partnership agreements based on the principle of reciprocity, although the implementation of these agreements was complicated, with most ACP countries fearing to open their markets. Stabex and Sysmin have been replaced by a long-term development fund managed under more difficult-to-control conditions. Finally, the agreement contains clauses on cooperation on the prevention of weapons of mass destruction, the fight against terrorism and the support of the International Court of Justice, so it is essential to coordinate the policy of cooperation with the Community`s foreign policy, developed after 1992 with the Maastricht Treaty and the CFSP (common foreign and security policy). Five Generations of ACP-CE Agreements The new partnership agreement between the 15 Member States of the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states marks five generations of agreements between sovereign ACP-CE states. It is the most important financial and political framework in the world for North-South cooperation. This particular partnership is characterized by its non-reciprocal trade advantages for ACP countries, including the unlimited entry into the market of 99% of industrial products and many other products, particularly for the least developed countries (LDCs), which are in the ACP 39 group.
In addition, aid envelopes for each ACP country and region are regularly updated. One of the unique features of the ACP-CE agreement is the dialogue and joint management of its content by the Community and the ACP states. ACP states are free to submit applications negotiated with the COMMUNITY. Institutions provide ongoing dialogue; an annual ACP/EU Council of Ministers, periodic meetings of the Acp Ambassadors Committee, which receives technical assistance from a permanent ACP secretariat based in Brussels. Acp parliamentarians and members of the European Parliament meet twice a year in a joint assembly where partnership issues are discussed. A „national indicative programme“ (PIN) is negotiated between the European Commission and an ACP state and sets development targets, particularly in primary or health education. B and includes an annual spending commitment for each country, tailored to these needs. The PMI is funded by the European Development Fund (EDF), the financial protocol for each agreement to which EU Member States contribute. Traditionally, the EDF allocates funds to regional cooperation, other EU overseas countries and territories (PTOM), humanitarian aid and emergency aid, and non-governmental organisations. Additional loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB), particularly for infrastructure, have also become a feature of cooperation.
Lomé`s much-loved partnership is based on a body of common objectives and principles, as well as the commercial and financial advantages that are granted over hours to become Lomé`s achievement.