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Economic Partnership Agreements of the EU: Impact on Regional Integration in Africa

Marinov, Eduard (2013): Economic Partnership Agreements of the EU: Impact on Regional Integration in Africa. Published in: The future of integration, the future of the European Union No. ISBN 978-954-23-0867-6 (2013): pp. 200-208.

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The development and dynamics of regional integration in Africa are severely influenced by the transformation of the trade relations between African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and the EU, imposed by the Cotonou agreement. Economic relations now based on unilateral trade preferences provided by the EU are envisaged to be based on Economic partnership agreements (EPAs) that should regulate trade and cooperation establishing new trade regimes between the EU and ACP regions selected by clear criteria. They also promote regional integration efforts and impose measures to support developing partner regions. However a decade after the start of the negotiations for the EPAs in Africa, the impact on regional integration is still unclear. The EPA negotiations do not cover the existing regional economic communities (RECs) which complicates the already delicate situation of dispersed capacity. Although EPAs aim at the promotion of regional integration their immediate impact is even greater fragmentation of existing RECs. The report examines the principles, history, and current state of negotiations as well as the twofold effects of EPAs on regional integration efforts in Africa.

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