Past eventResearch Event

Redefining Partnership: the EU-Africa Relationship Beyond the Cotonou Partnership Agreement

26 March 2018 - 9:30am to 10:30am

Chatham House, London


Koen Vervaeke, Managing Director for Africa, European External Action Service (EEAS)
Chair: Dr Alex Vines OBE, Research Director, Area Studies and International Law; Head, Africa Programme, Chatham House



Since 2000, the Cotonou Agreement has formed the basis for sub-Saharan Africa-EU co-operation, but it will expire in 2020. Formal negotiations between the two parties to the Cotonou Agreement – the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) and the EU – will begin this year. Whatever renewed partnership emerges from these talks will play a major part in determining the future relationship between sub-Saharan African countries and EU member states.

While the Cotonou Agreement has had some success, some areas of co-operation have been challenging. Negotiations over Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) have been fractious and, between 2006 and 2016, Africa’s share of EU trade declined to fourth. Recently, migration and security have increased the EU’s strategic focus on Africa.

At this event, Koen Vervaeke, managing director for Africa at the European Union External Action Service, discusses priorities and challenges in developing a post-Cotonou partnership between sub-Saharan Africa and the EU.