European Institutions “back to school” – 2018 edition

European Institutions “back to school” – 2018 edition

What do we expect to see this autumn from the EU?

The European Parliament has already started coming back to business this week, and it is preparing for the first plenary of the post-summer holiday period, which will take place in Strasbourg from 10thto 13thSeptember. Amongst the items on the agenda that are up for debate are the state of EU-US and EU-China relations, measures for Greece, the Future of Europe, and the European Solidarity Corps.

The European Parliament is also expected to ratify the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) sometime before the end of the year.

Most certainly, one of the most – if not the most – prominent issue will continue being the Brexit negotiations. In that front, it seems that the EU and the UK will not be reaching the designated October deadline for the conclusion of the withdrawal agreement, but are, instead, now aiming for a deal by mid-November.

However, this year the European Union will also be opening negotiations with the ACP countries for a new partnership agreement, as the Cotonou Agreement, which had been in place since 2000, is expiring on 29 February 2020. At the same time, the EU has negotiated EPAs with all 79 countries, most of which are either under the signature process or into provisional application.

The Cotonou Agreement, which constitutes the most comprehensive partnership agreement between the EU and 79 ACP countries, is based on 3 pillars: development cooperation, economic and trade cooperation, and political dimension. Its aim is to “reduce and eventually eradicate poverty, and contribute to the gradual integration of the ACP countries to the world economy”. The agreement covers a total population of over 1.5 billion people across the 79 ACP countries, and for the period 2014-2020 it received €30.5 billion in funding.

On 22June, the European Commission announced that it received authorisation from the Council to open negotiations for a new partnership agreement with the ACP countries. The ACP Council of Ministers had already adopted its own negotiations position on 20 May 2018. According to the Commission’s press release, the EU aims to work towards a substantially revised agreement, with 6 priority areas:

o  Democracy and HR

o  Economic growth and investment

o  Climate change

o  Poverty eradication

o  Peace and security

o  Migration and mobility

Both the EU and the ACP Council have stated that they want to draw from the lessons and achievements of the 43-year long EU-ACP partnership and use them towards a new approach that recognises development cooperation in terms of technology, capacity building and – one of the key goals of the EU – sustainable development (including UN2030 SDGs Agenda, Paris Climate Change Agreement, European Consensus on Development and Africa Agenda 2063).

Negotiations for the agreement were supposed to start no later than the end of August 2018, but it seems that they have been postponed until 1 October 2018.

The EU will have its hands busy this season, as per usual. For more information on EU public affairs, EU funding, Brexit or if you wish to know how EU policies can affect your organisation, do not hesitate to contact the B2EU team at info@b2eu-consulting.com.