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This chapter examines the political history of the partnership between the African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) group and the European Union (EU), including the “virtues” of the relationship in the Lomé era (1975–2000) and the dramatic shift to Cotonou (since 2000), as well as the lessons that their shared past provide for taking the partnership forward. Drawing on his wealth of personal experience as a Eurocrat in Brussels between 1973 and 1982, Whiteman identifies the struggles and triumphs of the ACP and the EU since the foundation of their relationship through the 1957 Treaty of Rome, and focuses in particular on what he calls the “spirit of Lomé”—a sense of solidarity, cooperation, and collective action. While acknowledging a need to re-think the ACP-EU relationship against the backdrop of ongoing changes in the global order, Whiteman argues that this relationship remains a more appropriate and relevant framework than regional strategic partnerships for addressing the challenges faced by ACP countries. In his view, these countries, which came together under the “chance circumstances of history”, can do the same once again, given a genuine common interest in overcoming the shared challenge of their future relationship with the EU.
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- A History of the ACP-EU Relationship: The Origins and Spirit of Lomé
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