On June 23, 2000, after eighteen months of negotiations, the European Union (EU) and its Member States signed a new partnership agreement with the African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) states in Cotonou, Benin, called the Cotonou Agreement. This twenty-year partnership agreement with seventy-seven ACP states replaced the Lome Convention, which had provided the structure for trade and cooperation between the ACP states and the EU since 1975. The Cotonou Agreement focuses on poverty reduction as its principal objective, which will be achieved through political dialogue, development aid, and closer economic and trade cooperation. This Note discusses the structure of the Cotonou Agreement and analyzes the various effects the Agreement will have on the ACP countries, particularly, the countries of the Caribbean. It concludes that, despite its objectives, the Agreement will likely contribute to a decline in the economies of the ACP nations.
A contribution to a symposium, "Marxism and African Realities," explores European Union (EU) policies related to the African, Caribbean, & Pacific (ACP) group of developing states, drawing on Stephen Gill's Gramscian notion of hegemony as self-reflexive, actively constructed, & incorporating both consensual & coercive features. It is argued that the EU has played an important role in redesigning development strategies to complement the global shift to neoliberal accumulation that targets the increasingly integrated project to "lock-in" the gains of capital over labor. Complementary projects of "redesigning" & "locking-in" are applied to the Lome & Cotonou Agreements to show that they represent a hegemonic shift in the form of a transition away from the social-democratic compromise of the welfare & developmental state. The process of redesigning ACP countries into regional economic partnership agreements leads many African governments to see conformity to World Trade Organization rules as the only viable developmental option. Consequently, these states surrender important future policy options & commodification is expanded to unprecedented levels. Resistance to neoliberal global constitutionalism is discussed. 58 References. J. Lindroth
The African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) Group of States is an intergovernmental organization established by the Georgetown Agreement in June 1975, and it consists of 79 countries across three continents. This heterogeneous cluster of countries, originally bound by their colonial ties with the member states of the European Union (EU), came together out of the need to form a common front in the negotiations of the first ACP–EU partnership. The spirit of the Lomé Convention (1975–2000), initially considered a very progressive model of North–South cooperation, gradually evaporated; thus, the Cotonou Agreement (2000–2020), with its profound changes in the areas of aid and trade, was an attempt to normalize relations between the two blocs. The overall patchy record of the various ACP–EU partnership agreements and a number of events—notably, decreased interest within the EU, intensification of regionalization dynamics in the ACP Group, and adoption of separate strategies for cooperation with African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries and regions—cast doubts upon the relevance of the ACP–EU framework and threatened the existence of the ACP Group. Unsurprisingly, the launch of the negotiations in September 2018 for a new ACP–EU partnership was not without difficulty. While there are no doubts that the ACP Group has intrinsically been linked to the EU, at the same time it should be noted that it has attempted to promote intra-ACP cooperation, although with mixed successes at best, and to strengthen its presence in the international arena and diversify its partnerships, also in this case with limited results. Indeed, despite various pledges to support the principles of unity and solidarity, the effectiveness of the ACP Group has been compromised by the interplay of a plurality of interests, limited financial resources, and a perceived delinkage of the Brussels-based institutions from ACP national capitals. The revision of the Georgetown Agreement in December 2019, including the transformation into the Organisation of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), is an attempt to reinvigorate the ACP Group, with stronger emphasis on financial sustainability, joint action for the pursuit of multilateralism, and, importantly, increased autonomy from the EU.