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AU adopts African common position for AU-EU post 2020 relations
Last Updated: 2018-03-30 15:19 | Xinhua
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The African Union (AU) Executive Council has adopted the African common position for negotiations of a new cooperation agreement with the European Union (EU).

African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) developing countries and EU signed the ACP-EU partnership agreement, dubbed the Cotonou partnership agreement, in Cotonou, Benin, on 23 June 2000 for a 20-year period from 2000 to 2020.

And as the Cotonou partnership agreement approaches to expire in February 2020, reflections between Africa and the EU have been under way to determine the nature, outline and configuration of a more appropriate framework for future post-2020 relations, according to an AU statement on Thursday.

The decision to adopt the common position came last week with the historic event of Africa, whereby 44 AU member states signed the African continental free trade area (CFTA), which AU is saying that a strong and loud message to the world that Africa is able to come together as one and speak in one voice.

The revision of the partnership capitalizes on the experiences of the past and to define a single, strong and sustainable cooperation policy framework, based on values, interests and aspirations that unite the two continents and actively participate together in global discussions, says AU.

The new agreement with EU should be separated from the ACP context and based on a strong and sustainable continent-to-continent partnership that revolves around the AU and the EU, recommends the adopted common position, noted the statement.

The new agreement should also reaffirm the interdependence between Africa and Europe, as well as the development of modern political dialogue, based on equality, equity, mutual respect and the shared responsibility of both continents.

It should be based on African priority development pillars, revolving around seven elements, including, structural transformation of economies and inclusive growth; people-centered development; migration and mobility; peace and security; science, technology and innovation; the environment and climate change; governance, human rights and natural resource management.

It should not be failing to consider the already existing bilateral agreements between the EU and Africa, including those of North Africa, South Africa and other African countries, said the statement, adding, Africa has devoted to negotiate South-South partnership on a sovereign basis with the Caribbean and the Pacific based on existing partnership models.

Building on a longstanding cooperation and with a view of deepening high-level dialogue and cooperation on a citizen-driven pan-African agenda of integration and transformation, the adoption of the common position is the first step towards a win-win discussion with EU, it said.

Following the adoption, it was convened by the meeting that the next steps will consist of establishing a group of negotiators; developing a negotiation strategy by the AU Commission by May 2018.

An official presentation of the African common position will be made at the 107th session of the ACP Council of Ministers in Lome, Togo on 29 May 2018, according to the statement.

Since the year 2000, the Cotonou partnership agreement has been the framework for relations with 79 countries from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) and the EU, based on three pillars such as development cooperation, political cooperation, economic and trade cooperation.

In 2010, ACP-EU cooperation was adapted to new challenges such as climate change, food security, regional integration, State fragility and aid effectiveness, recalled the statement.

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