Probably the most radical change introduced by the Cotonou Agreement concerns trade cooperation. Since the first Lomé Convention in 1975, the EU has granted non-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 However, under the Cotonou Agreement, this system has been replaced by the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), a new regime that entered into force in 2008. This new regime provides for reciprocal trade agreements, which means not only that the EU grants duty-free access to its markets to ACP exports, but that ACP countries also grant duty-free access to their own markets for EU exports. Of particular importance is the agreement signed in 2016 with the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOS), which allows us to engage in mutually beneficial areas of cooperation. Under the new agreement, the EU can be more selective and flexible in the allocation and use of its development resources. The allocation of development assistance is based on an assessment of a country`s needs and performance and involves the possibility of regularly adjusting financial resources accordingly. In practice, this means that more money can be transferred to “good performers” and the share of “bad performers” can be reduced. The Cotonou Agreement replaced the Lomé Convention, which has served as the basis for development cooperation between acp countries and the EU since 1975. However, the Cotonou Agreement is much broader than any previous agreement. This is a period of twenty years and is based on four main principles: the political decision of the Heads of State and Government to work in solidarity has led to the definition of several areas of cooperation focused on the well-being of ACP citizens, which is the ultimate objective of all our actions. including this event today. Sustainable economic growth, private sector development, increased employment and improved access to productive resources are part of this framework.

Respect for the rights of individuals and the preservation of basic needs, the promotion of social development and the conditions for an equitable distribution of the fruits of growth are supported. Regional and subregional integration processes, which promote the integration of ACP countries into the world economy in terms of trade and private investment, will be encouraged and supported. ARTICLE 9 – Essential elements and fundamental element 5. Wide-ranging policies aimed at promoting peace and preventing, managing and resolving violent conflicts play a key role in this dialogue, as does the need to take full account of the objective of peace and democratic stability in defining priority areas for cooperation. Good governance, based on the ACP-EU partnership, shall form the basis of the internal and international political policy of the Contracting Parties and shall constitute a fundamental element of this Agreement. . . .

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