The post-Cotonou Agreement under threat: the delay in ratification is a growing concern
The political deal between the European Union and the 79 members of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States faces increasing threats of failure and has been scrapped 18 months after being finalized by EU and ACP negotiators still not ratified.
After several years of arduous negotiations and increasing delays, the agreement was signed by Jutta Urpilainen, EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, and her ACP counterpart Robert Dussey.
As a successor to the 2000 Cotonou Agreement, the new agreement promises to strengthen political dialogue and development cooperation, but without changing the EU-ACP trade agreements, which continue to build on the Economic Partnership Agreements with the regions and the Everything But Arms “ Agreement will be based ” Consent (Everything but gunsEPO).
It also includes provisions on security and migration, one of the most contentious issues in the negotiations, including new commitments by ACP countries to return and readmit failed economic migrants, as well as a new text on the “circular migration” and legal routes to Europe.
However, Hungary, which has urged the European Commission throughout the negotiation process to demand tougher obligations on the return and readmission of migrants, continues to block attempts by the EU executive to ratify the deal.
The European Parliament, meanwhile, reiterated its calls for EU member states to break the deadlock and finalize the deal.
Leading MEPs from the Socialist Group in the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, including the head of the European Parliament delegation to the Assembly (DACP), Carlos Zorrinho, commented on the situation for EURACTIV.
In particular, they blamed Viktor Orbán’s government “Holding the post-Cotonou agreement hostage” and adding that “further delays are no longer acceptable”.
Meanwhile, at a meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly of MPs and ACP MPs, held this week in Mozambique, there were also signs of African states seeking to reverse the pact, particularly on gender commitments on equality and Non-discrimination based on sexual orientation.
“We found that there are hidden human rights clauses in the post-Cotonou Agreement. Clauses related to sexuality, promotion of LGBT/homosexuality and clauses related to abortion”said Thomas Tayebwa, Deputy Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament.
“Our society is not ready for homosexuality and we are a society that is not ready for abortion”he added.
The delays add to the existing difficulties faced by the ACP countries.
The focus of the meeting of MEPs and ACP countries was the demand that rich countries deliver on their pledge to provide 100 billion US dollars a year to finance adaptation to climate change and the adjustment to the future carbon tax at the EU borders to support. Representatives from ACP countries also asked for help in complying with EU legislation on due diligence of companies and products without deforestation.
The media last month devex reported that South Africa, the continent’s second largest economy, has signaled its intention to leave the ACP as it has its own political and economic partnership agreement with the EU.
This is a major setback for the ACP countries, which have already been forced to give way to the African Union, which has established itself as the main body through which the EU institutions manage EU-Africa relations.
Critics of the AKP, whose secretariat is funded by the EU budget, say it has little political clout and is a relic of colonialism.
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