Developing States Want Immigrants Discussed in New Cotonou Deal

(Bloomberg) -- African, Caribbean and Pacific nations want the issue of undocumented immigrants to Europe to be part of negotiations for a new trade pact scheduled to come into place after 2020.

The so-called ACP countries are discussing a new trade deal with the European Union to replace the Cotonou Agreement signed in June 2000 in Cotonou, Benin.

The pillars for the Cotonou Agreement have been cooperation and development, and better involvement of political and economic development, EU-ACP co-President Michele Rivasi told reporters in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, after the organization’s 15th regional meeting.

“But in addition, there are things that did not exist 40 years ago when the agreement was being drafted, like climate change and migration. As parliamentarians, we want to ensure that this migration does not become some sort of security situation,” Rivasi said.

Europe is grappling to stem the biggest wave of asylum seekers since World War II, with many young people arriving by sea from African countries. Anxiety over illegal migration has stoked populism there and driven electoral gains by far-right parties across the region.

Members of the EU-ACP want greater emphasis on climate change and agricultural development in their discussions and less on just trade and markets, according to a statement issued at the conclusion of the three-day meeting.

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