Political & economic relations

The Cotonou Agreement is the most comprehensive partnership agreement between developing countries and the EU. Since 2000, it has been the framework for the EU's relations with 79 countries from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP), including Nigeria. It was first revised in 2005, then in 2010. This agreement constitutes the legal basis for the EU and Nigeria's partnership on political issues, development cooperation and trade.

The political dimension of the relations between Nigeria and the EU is articulated in Articles 8 to 13 - of the revised Cotonou Partnership Agreement. Article 8 in particular spells out the objectives and the key topics of the political dialogue.

Nigeria and the EU decided in 2008 to take their relationships to a new level through intensified dialogue and enhanced cooperation. Nigeria and the EU drew the main lines for a way forward to intensify their relations.

In 2009, the EU and Nigeria formalized this commitment in the form of the Nigeria EU Joint Way Forward. They agreed to intensify their political dialogue and to hold at least a yearly senior officials' meeting and a Ministerial meeting. The main areas of priorities identified for such dialogue are: Peace and security, good governance and human rights, economic development including trade and regional integration, energy, environmental sustainability and climate change. Given the growing importance of Nigeria's influence in the region and in international fora, it was also agreed that the dialogue would cover regional and international cooperation, in addition to the domestic situation. The most recent meeting took place in Abuja in February 2011.

"Nigeria and the EU consider each other as natural and strong partners. Nigeria and the EU share common values and ideals, both believing in peace and security, equality, democracy and tolerance as ways of developing prosperous and generous societies".

In parallel, the EU and Nigeria agreed to set up a local dialogue on migration and development, as per article 13 of the Cotonou agreement. The dialogue, supported by development cooperation and a Working arrangement with FRONTEX, aims at maximising the contribution of the very significant remittances and Diaspora to Nigeria's development and Transformation agenda, at preventing and reducing irregular migration and trafficking of human beings, and at organising and facilitating legal migration and. The dialogue allows to exchange information and identify shared interests and practical measures of cooperation, to strengthen relations and build trust and commitment between Nigeria and the EU in this domain. The latest and fifth session of the dialogue took place on 27 January 2012.

A local informal human rights dialogue was also established in 2009. It is held at least on a yearly basis. The latest and third session took place on 03 February 2012. It allowed the two parties to discuss a large range of issues, including death penalty, torture and extrajudicial killings, women's rights, children's rights and the protection of minorities. Cooperation in international fora, notably the UN Human Rights Council, was also discussed. In addition to the local dialogue with the Nigerian authorities, the EU has decided to conduct at least a yearly consultation with human rights organisations. The first meeting was held on 10 February 2011. Civil society organisations are also able to benefit from financial support from the EU, including through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights.

At the Ministerial meeting, in January 2012, Nigeria and the EU agreed to set up a local dialogue on peace, stability and security. The dialogue still needs to be put in place.