EU and ACP Fail to Reach Agreement on Migration in Revised Cotonou Agreement

Representatives of the EU and ACP (Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific group of states) signed the second revision to the Cotonou Agreement in Ouagadougou on 22 June.  The Agreement provides the basic framework for relations between the EU and ACP states.  The parties failed to reach agreement on revisions to Article 13, the migration provision.

The EU has been pressuring the ACP states to agree to changes in the Cotonou Agreement which would make it easier for EU member states to return illegal or irregular migrants from the EU to their home countries.  ACP states resisted incorporating such a provision in the Agreement, instead wanting to deal with readmission issues on a bi-lateral basis.

As a result of this ongoing disagreement, Article 13 of the Agreement will remain unchanged for the time being.  The EU and ACP instead agreed on a Joint Declaration (Declaration III) which was signed yesterday in conjunction with the revised Cotonou Agreement.  It reads as follows:


The Parties agree to strengthen and deepen their dialogue and cooperation in the area of migration, building on the following three pillars of a comprehensive and balanced approach to migration:

1. Migration and Development, including issues relating to diasporas, brain drain and remittances;

2. Legal migration including admission, mobility and movement of skills and services; and

3. Illegal migration, including smuggling and trafficking of human beings and border management, as well as readmission.

Without prejudice to the current Article 13, the Parties undertake to work out the details of this enhanced cooperation in the area of migration.  They further agree to work towards the timely completion of this dialogue and to report about the progress made to the next ACP-EC Council.”

Click here for the full 2010 amendments to the Cotonou Agreement.

Click here for EU Council Press Release.

Click here for the Secretariat of the ACP States’ web page pertaining to the Cotonou Agreement.

Click here for the EU web page pertaining to the Cotonou Agreement.

Click here, here, and here for previous posts on the Migration provision of the Cotonou Agreement.

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