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Since 1975, the European Union has been maintaining a separate co-operation agreement with the ACP (Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific) states. The "Lomé Treaty" (signed 1975 in Togo’s capital, Lomé), is aimed at supporting and promoting economic, cultural and social development of the ACP states. The co-operation contract is based on three principles: equality of the partners, the sovereignty in decision-making and the security of relations. The Lomé model was being designed at a stage when discussions concerning the New World Economic Order were underway. Owing to this fact, it may be characterised more as a mixed model, based on both the theories of dependence and modernisation. The Lomé Treaty appears as a type of vertical co-operation between economically weak and strong states, reflecting a sort of clientelism. Relations between Europe and the ACP states can be specified as collective clientelism. It is an asymmetrical relationship.

The Lomé Treaty is the most comprehensive co-operation model existing between two groups of states. Taking into account its predecessors (the Yaoundé I and II Agreements), this model has been in existence for over 30 years. Furthermore, the Lomé model attempts to create a European, a common concept of development co-operation. It hence goes beyond a purely bilateral approach.

Since 1989, the future of Lomé co-operation has been discussed intensively, due to the change in European interests, those of individual member states, and also those of ACP states. This is not so much a result of the little success of prevailing development co-operation, but of circumstances such as the Maastricht Treaty leading to European unification, the new GATT resolutions, as well as the founding of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Co-operation between Europe and ACP countries has been placed in a new economic and strategic constellation, in the face of which it has to prove successful anew. The altered geostrategic scenario reduces ACP influence in favour of the more significant Asian and Latin American countries.

Critics regard Lomé co-operation as ineffective, too bureaucratic, overburdened and lacking in sufficient control. Against this background, the future co-operation between the EU and the ACP group of states is to be questioned. The Lomé IV Agreement is to last until the year 2000, thus leaving only limited time to decide on the framework for future co-operation. General European development co-operation needs to be re-defined in such a way that a reformed EU-ACP co-operation can fit in. From the German perspective, however, numerous reforms will have to be initiated to allow for successful future Lomé co-operation. The latter should depart from its post-colonial stage to entail co-operation between true partners. German Politics should – also in the context of European development policy – more actively engage in enhancing peace policy, promoting democracy and preventing violations of human rights

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© Friedrich Ebert Stiftung | technical support | net edition fes-library | April 2002

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