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Cotonou Agreement



Partnership agreement 2000/483/EC between ACP countries and the EU


The Cotonou Agreement is the backbone of the partnership between the European Union (EU), EU Member States and 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.

It aims to contribute to the eradication of poverty, to support the sustainable economic, cultural and social development of the partner countries and to help the progressive integration of their respective economies into the world economy.


Main principles

The Cotonou Agreement is a close partnership based on a series of principles:

  • the partners to the agreement are equal;
  • the ACP countries determine their own development policies;
  • cooperation is not only among governments – parliaments, local authorities, civil society, the private sector and economic and social partners play a role as well;
  • Cooperation arrangements and priorities vary according to aspects such as countries’ levels of development.


Joint institutions are in place to support the implementation of the Cotonou Agreement.

  • The ACP–EU Council of Ministers, assisted by the Committee of Ambassadors:
    • conducts political dialogue;
    • adopts policy guidelines; and
    • takes decisions to implement the agreement.
  • The council presents an annual progress report to the ACP–EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly. This consultative body makes recommendations on the achievement of the agreement’s objectives.
  • The Joint ACP–EU Ministerial Trade Committee discusses trade-related issues of concern to all ACP countries. It monitors the negotiation and implementation of economic partnership agreements. It also examines the impact of the multilateral trade negotiations on ACP–EU trade and the development of ACP economies.
  • The ACP–EU Development Finance Cooperation Committee examines the implementation of development finance cooperation and monitors its progress.

Political dimension

The political dimension of the Cotonou Agreement is important and includes:

  • a comprehensive political dialogue on national, regional and global issues;
  • promoting human rights and democratic principles;
  • developing peacebuilding policies, conflict prevention and resolution;
  • addressing migration issues and security issues, including the fight against terrorism and countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.


The agreement includes cooperation activities to boost:

  • economic development focusing on the industrial, agricultural or tourism sectors of ACP countries;
  • social and human development to improve health, education and nutrition services; and
  • regional cooperation and integration to promote and expand trade among ACP countries.

These activities are funded through the European Development Fund and, since 2021, by the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument.

The agreement complies with World Trade Organization rules and enables ACP countries to play a full part in international trade.

Revision of the agreement

The agreement was signed in 2000.

It was most recently revised in 2017 by Decision (EU) 2017/435. In 2010, the agreement was adapted to focus on issues such as:

Negotiations on a new agreement started in September 2018.

A communication was adopted in 2016 on a renewed partnership for the post-2020 period. It:


It entered into force on 1 April 2003 and was initially due to expire by 29 February 2020.

Decision No 1/2022 extends the application of the agreement until 30 June 2023, or until the entry into force (or the provisional application) of the new agreement replacing Partnership Agreement 2000/483/EC.


A new agreement between the EU and ACP countries started to be negotiated in 2018 and will replace Partnership Agreement 2000/483/EC.

For more information, see:


Partnership agreement 2000/483/EC between the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States of the one part, and the European Community and its Member States, of the other part, signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000 – Protocols – Final Act – Declarations (OJ L 317, 15.12.2000, pp. 3–353).

Successive amendments to Partnership Agreement 2000/483/EC have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.


Decision No 1/2022 of the ACP-EU Committee of Ambassadors of 21 June 2022 to amend Decision No 3/2019 of the ACP-EU Committee of Ambassadors to adopt transitional measures pursuant to Article 95(4) of the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement [2022/1102] (OJ L 176, 1.7.2022, pp. 88–89).

Proposal for a Council Decision on the signing, on behalf of the European Union, and provisional application of the Partnership Agreement between the European Union, of the one part, and the members of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific (OACPS) States, of the other part (COM(2021) (312) final, 11.6.2021).

Joint statement by the Council and the representatives of the governments of the Member States meeting within the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission (OJ C 210, 30.6.2017, pp. 1–24).

Council Decision (EU) 2017/435 of 28 February 2017 on the conclusion of the Agreement amending for the second time the Partnership Agreement between the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, of the one part, and the European Community and its Member States, of the other part, signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000, as first amended in Luxembourg on 25 June 2005 (OJ L 67, 14.3.2017, pp. 31–32).

Joint Communication to the European Parliament and the Council: A renewed partnership with the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (JOIN(2016) 52 final, 22.11.2016).

last update 30.08.2022