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The European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States sign the Samoa Agreement

The agreement involves 105 countries, home to 1.5 billion people, and is emerging as the main instrument for guiding political, economic, and cooperation relations over the next 20 years.

November 15, 2023

​The State Secretary for International Cooperation, Pilar Cancela Rodríguez, representing the Council of the European Union, participated in the signing of the Samoa Agreement, which took place today in Apia. This agreement marks the transition from the Cotonou Agreement to the Samoa Agreement and is emerging as the main instrument for guiding political, economic and cooperation relations between the European Union (EU) and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) over the next 20 years.

Following the ACP-EU Council of Ministers meeting held today in Samoa and co-chaired by Spain under its Presidency of the EU Council, the Samoa Agreement, which replaces the 2000 Cotonou Agreement, has been signed, and will become effective on 1 January 2024. The agreement updates the framework of EU-ACP relations to today’s world and serves as the main political and legal umbrella for the EU's development cooperation with 79 countries of the so-called "Global South", including 47 African countries, 16 Caribbean countries and 15 Pacific countries, as well as the Republic of Maldives.

This agreement includes key objectives for the EU-ACP relationship and its international outreach, such as contributing towards attaining the SDGs and implementing the Paris Agreement, promoting and protecting human rights, building peaceful and resilient States and societies, fostering human and social development, supporting trade development and investment mobilisation, and safe, orderly, and regular migration and mobility.

"The Pacific is a region facing particular challenges, largely linked to the threat of climate change. This explains the emphasis of the protocol dedicated to the region on ocean governance, biodiversity and the blue economy, topics that Spain is well aware of and which it supports within the region through its contribution to the ​Office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner​", as explained by Cancela following the signing.

The signing and coming into force of the Samoa Agreement falls within the framework of the Spanish Presidency of the EU Council and represents an important geopolitical milestone for the European Union, confirming the maintenance of a special relationship based on a privileged legal framework with the 79 countries of the OACPS.

The agreement includes a common basis and three regional protocols for Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, focusing on the specific needs of each region. It also offers both blocs the possibility of substantially amplifying their joint global projection on a multilateral level, facilitating the adoption of common positions and the creation of alliances in the different international fora, given that the sum of their Party States (105) accounts for more than half of the Member States of the United Nations.

"This agreement covers 105 countries, home to 1.5 billion people. The signing and conclusion of this agreement sends a message to the ACP countries that the EU sees them as priority partners and shall ensure that legal coverage of the various dimensions of these relations shall continue for the next 20 years", concluded the State Secretary.