The EU will work towards a comprehensively revised agreement, based on a common basis at THE ACP level, in conjunction with three bespoke regional partnerships for Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. In their press release, the two main negotiators said the agreement remained a priority. Despite COVID-19, they felt that the negotiations had progressed well and moved closer to the conclusion. Dussey said the new agreement would take into account the unprecedented challenges that countries are currently facing as a result of COVID-19. Relations between the European Union (EU) and the ACP Group changed considerably during the 1990s. Historical links, which were the main features of previous agreements, had been eroded and the importance of ACP countries to the EU was reduced. With the completion of the Single Market programme in 1992 and the end of the Cold War, the EU had turned to development issues that were „closer to the homeland”, namely in Central and Eastern Europe. Although relations between the EU and the ACP countries have continued, they have been marked by the changing political situation of its time. The wave of democratization that affected many developing countries after the end of the Cold War has led to a politicization of development cooperation hitherto unknown.
In addition, the continued absence of the expected economic benefits of Lomé, the continuing incompatibility with the provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) /World Trade Organization (WTO) and the complexity of the Lomé agreements led to the development of a new agreement in Cotonou, the capital of Benin. The Yaounde II agreement expired in 1974 and was replaced by a new agreement signed and named after lomé, the capital of Togo. The creation of a new preferential trade agreement instead of the continuation of the old one was provoked both by unsatisfactory results of the previous agreement and by changes in the European political framework. From the perspective of developing countries, the demand for further negotiations was triggered by the strong neocolonical aspects that were still visible in the Yaounde Agreement and by the disappointing economic results it had achieved. From a European perspective, the development strategy has moved from a regional approach to a more comprehensive approach with the introduction of the Generalised Preference System (GSP) in 1971. At the same time, the United Kingdom`s accession to the European Community in 1973 led to the rapid transfer of the French-speaking centre of gravity of development policy to the developing countries of the community. Perhaps the most radical amendment introduced by the Cotonou Agreement concerns trade cooperation. Since the first Lomé Convention in 1975, the EU has not granted reciprocal trade preferences to ACP countries. However, under the Cotonou Agreement, this system has been replaced by the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), a new regime that came into force in 2008. The new regime provides for reciprocal trade agreements, which means that not only does the EU grant duty-free access to its ACP export markets, but also that ACP countries grant duty-free access to their own markets for EU exports. The EU and the Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP) have governed their relations since 1975 through a series of partnership agreements.
The most recent is the Cotonou Partnership Agreement, which expires in 2020.