2. Migration in the EU-ACP Partnership After 2020: Implementing the UN Global Compact

Brussels, Belgium
Date of publication: November 2018

The Cotonou Partnership Agreement between the European Union (EU) and 78 African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) countries is set to expire this year. Negotiations on a post-Cotonou successor agreement began in September 2018, and migration will be a major topic. 

The beginning of these negotiations coincides with the final preparations of the United Nations (UN) Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration, to be adopted in Morocco’s medieval city of Marrakesh in December 2018. Although the two agreements are distinct from each other, there is a great deal of potential overlap. The renewed EUACP Partnership Agreement could potentially be shaped as a regional mechanism to implement the Global Compact. 

A comparison of the EU and the ACP’s negotiating mandates reveals significantly divergent positions in the area of migration. While Brussels focuses on the need to stem irregular migration, facilitate returns, and strengthen border controls; the ACP tends to stress the positive effects of migration and seeks to promote legal mobility. This divergence demonstrates each party’s different priorities and political calculations. Nevertheless, there is scope for compromise on many issues including legal migration which is also part of the EU’s negotiating mandate. Furthermore, Brussels’s interest in addressing the root causes of migration aligns with the development priorities of ACP countries.

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