The Fiji Times »Global turning point – New agreement between the EU and OACPS
By JUTTA URPILAINEN and PROF ROBERT DUSSEY
After two and a half years of intense negotiations, a successor to the Cotonou Agreement is in sight.
On April 15, we, as chief negotiators, concluded negotiations that will lead to the signing of a new Association Agreement between the 79 members of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States and the European Union.
We are proud of what we have accomplished together.
This agreement renews, modernizes and deepens the privileged relations that the African, Caribbean and Pacific States and the EU have enjoyed for more than 40 years.
It sets a framework for our cooperation over the next 20 years. Together, we represent 1.5 billion people on four continents, 106 countries and more than half of the seats in the United Nations General Assembly.
We share common values, but also a common vision: peaceful and prosperous societies that leave no one behind.
In a troubled world, grappling with an unprecedented environmental crisis, a devastating pandemic and a revival of one-sided temptation, relations between our two groups of countries represent a pillar of stability and a beacon of hope. We choose to work together.
The new agreement takes our partnership to the next level.
It is more ambitious, comprehensive and flexible than its predecessors, whether in terms of jobs, global challenges, rights, multilateralism and differentiation.
It really goes beyond the Cotonou Agreement, in various areas.
Let us underline only three of these aspects. From a geopolitical perspective, together we will be stronger globally and strive to implement the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement, the overarching frameworks guiding our partnership.
From a partnership perspective, the first time in more than 40 years of collaboration, strong regional components are included in the text.
This strengthens the EU’s relations with each region through three tailor-made regional protocols with specific priorities.
In essence, the agreement places human rights, gender equality, democracy and good governance at the heart of our partnership.
We will place particular emphasis on human development, the promotion of economic opportunities for all and the preservation of the environment.
The result of our negotiations testifies to the vitality of our relationship.
It is a real turning point, a major political achievement and a powerful tool for advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Our young people demand a fairer, greener and more peaceful world.
The next generation deserves a rules-based world order that regulates power politics, protects the vulnerable, and promotes open societies leaving no one behind.
Our new agreement works in this direction.
- Jutta Urpilainen is the Commissioner for International Partnerships, European Commission
- Professor Robert Dussey is the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Integration and Togolese Abroad. The opinions expressed by the authors are not necessarily shared by this journal.