The European Union, Africa and the ACP States
Maurizio Carbone (University of Glasgow) – “The European Union, Africa and the ACP States: Insights from the Post-Cotonou Negotiations”
This paper explains the rationales of the European Union (EU) and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) in the negotiations of the successor to the Cotonou Agreement, which has governed relations between the two sides since June 2000. It shows how, unlike its predecessor which perpetuated donor-recipient dynamics but like many other international treaties signed by the EU, the EU-OACPS Agreement (expected to be signed in mid-2023) sets out a comprehensive political partnership for allegedly mutually beneficial outcomes. Particular attention is paid to the negotiation of human rights, pointing to the persistence of a North-South divide. Specifically, the paper demonstrates that the EU tends to pay attention mostly, if not exclusively, to civil and political rights, in some cases meeting the fierce opposition of African countries (e.g., sexual rights, death penalty, broadened space for civil society); it also shows that Africa is not a passive recipient of external demands, but instead is very capable of advancing its own priorities on economic, social and cultural as well as solidarity rights, which conversely are resisted by the EU (e.g., right to development, rights linked to permanent sovereignty over natural resources, access to cultural heritage).