(Advance unedited version) Maastricht: European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM)
The debate on the future of the ACP-EU partnership is gaining speed and prominence as key actors reflect on past experiences with the Cotonou Agreement (CPA), which is set to expire in 2020, and explore different options for a future arrangement. It is a complex review process, marked by major changes in international relations in general, and the European Union and the ACP countries and regions specifically. Furthermore, several institutional and political factors may constrain an open, well informed and result-oriented discussion on a successor framework adapted to the requirements of the universal Agenda 2030.
This note introduces, explores and critically interrogates four possible scenarios for the future of the ACP-EU partnership. Each of these options is examined according to a single analytical grid aimed at confronting policy-makers with the implications of the scenario they may opt for. The focus is first on the main assumptions and the interests that can potentially be pursued through each scenario. Then a reality check looks at how solid these assumptions/interests are in light of the actual practice of the CPA, followed by a set of thorny questions proponents of each scenario will need to address. Finally, we draw up a balance sheet that spells out major advantages and disadvantages of each of the scenarios.