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The European Union’s Policy in African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries: Towards an Effective Democratisation?

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  1. Introduction.
  2. The EU and its ACP countries' policy: A long path towards democratisation.
    1. A historical perspective: Towards the Yaounde Conventions.
    2. From a trade relationship ( Lome I and II) to more democratisation (Lome III and IV).
  3. Political conditionality and democratisation.
    1. The principle of conditionality.
    2. Good governance, democracy. human rights and rule of law.
    3. The problem of an effective implementation.
  4. The Cotonou Partnership Agreement and new perspectives.
    1. The Cotonou agreement in 2000.
    2. Challenges and new perspectives.
  5. Conclusion.
  6. Bibliography.

?Since 1992, the European Community has included in all its agreements with third countries a clause defining respect for human rights and democracy as ?essential elements' in the EU's relationship. This clause is unique in bilateral agreements. This approach has been further developed in the Cotonou agreement signed with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries in June 2000 which is based on respect for human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law, and on good governance. This new development policy is firmly grounded on the principle of sustainable, equitable and participatory human and social development. It constitutes a major step in the development of the European Union's policies.? As this communication from the European Commission1 in 2001 points out, the European Union has defined itself a role in promoting human rights and democratisation in Third countries. As well, since the relationship between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries has been the most structured and historically important of all those the EU supported, it seems logical to focus on this particular region of the Third World.

[...] Thus Lomé IV introduced a number of policy innovations: the environment; women; and mostly emphasis on human rights.[3] Thus, whereas the agreements had been till then financially disappointing, the introduction of political conditionality as ?essential? in Lomé IV was an important step towards EU democratisation concerns in ACP countries. But which where these democratic requirements? 2. Political conditionality : which democratisation? This principle of conditionality applied to the political field, and the demands it requires, is aiming at developing democracy in ACP countries. [...]

[...] This new agreement allowed countries other than former colonial dependencies to ask for membership, extended the development assistance by creating the STABEX ( system of funding for the stabilisation of exports earnings against lower prices or loss of production), promoted the principle of non-reciprocity and introduced the concept of partnership in order to respond to the critics of perpetuated dependency More importantly, this first Lomé Convention brought together the associated African, Caribbean and Pacific states into an institutionalised ACP group.9 It also established an unparalleled kind of First-Third world relationship. [...]

[...] Conclusion We have seen that the EU-ACP relationships have evolved from a paternalist colonial preferences basis to the promotion of both economic and democratic principles in order to develop and integrate the ACP countries in the global world. If the successive Lomé conventions showed failures in their results as far as economic development was concerned, they were, however, outlining the shift towards more EU democratic concerns through requirements of good governance, human rights, democracy and rule of law. The difficulties of implementation accentuated the need for a new agreement, resulting in the adoption of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement in 2000 which definitely accentuates democratisation principles. [...]

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