The first formal association agreements were those of Yaounde I and II in the 1960s, followed by the Lomé Conventions (I-IV), which were in force for the period 1975-2000 and which were intended to support the acp countries` efforts for autonomous development. 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. “We are in the final phase of negotiations,” a European Commission spokeswoman told the DW. More than 95% of the treaty text agrees. However, the Commission refused to provide specific information or conduct an interview. The Council gives the Commission a mandate to negotiate these agreements and must sign the final agreement as soon as it is concluded.
CONCORD presents a list of recommendations to put in place the most effective and useful mechanisms and elements of integration and defence of the role and space of civil society in the post-2020 EU-ACP agreement. The two chief negotiators met in N`djamena, Chad, to take stock of the process. Although the two sides did not agree on all parts of the Joint Foundation, they decided to start discussions on regional pillars (EU-Africa, Caribbean, EU-Pacific). It is the most comprehensive partnership agreement ever signed between the EU and third countries. In order to adapt to new challenges, the agreement was revised in 2005 and 2010 to focus more on the following themes: the objective of this procedure is to return to a normal relationship between the partners. In the absence of an agreement, the party that initiated the process can take action on cooperation projects and development assistance. Perhaps the most radical amendment introduced by the Cotonou Agreement concerns trade cooperation. Since the first Lomé Convention in 1975, the EU has not granted reciprocal trade preferences to ACP countries. However, under the Cotonou Agreement, this system has been replaced by the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), a new regime that came into force in 2008.