Challenges for 2003: The Changing Framework of EU External Relations and its Implications for the ACP

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    Over the next few years, a series of major changes in European governance are likely to have a fundamental impact on the European Union’s global positioning and external actions. For those interested in international development cooperation and the EU’s relations with the ACP, and especially Africa, four areas merit particular attention:

    • Changes in the EU’s institutional structure will radically alter the way the Union conducts its external relations. The shape of these changes should be clear by early 2004.
    • Key financial decisions in the period 2004-07 will establish the parameters for Overseas Development Assistance from the EU for the next five to seven years.
    • Global trade negotiations are also advancing and various international agreements will change fundamentally in the next five years.
    • A more proactive stance by African leaders in the way they position themselves vis ­à vis the international community means the EU will have to adapt its external relations in response.

    All these changes are of course also occurring against the backdrop of international affairs and are therefore influenced by changing global concerns. Chief amongst these is the concern with security issues which is having a major influence on the policy agenda in EU external relations.

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