Continuing ACP-EU relations in a changing context, a critical assessment of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement
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This thesis researches two disputed issues concerning ACP-EU relations and the new partnership agreement – often referred to as the Cotonou Partnership Agreement (CPA) - which has been the framework for these relations since 2000. Firstly, it examines to what extent the CPA presents a departure from the previous Lomé Conventions. Due to changes in the context in which the ACP-EU relationship evolved, the framework of this relationship transformed, turning from Lomé (1975-2000) to Cotonou (2000-2011). This thesis argues that this transformation doesn’t present a departure from the previous Lomé frameworks, like the official sources of the EU and a substantial amount of expert are claiming. The CPA is essentially a continuation of the former Lomé Conventions (adapted to the context of the 21st century); the objectives aimed at by the relationship and the tendencies driving the relationship in its existence represent a clear continuation. Secondly, it researches to what extent the main objective of the new ACP-EU partnership to eradicate poverty contains false rhetoric from the side of the EU, like several critics have been claiming. It concludes that it is unfounded to speak of false rhetoric from the EU. Although the basis of most criticisms on the CPA is justifiable – reciprocity and political conditionality don’t represent the best methods to achieve poverty eradication – this doesn’t imply insincerity of the EU and its Member States towards Article 1 of the CPA.