The Pacific ACP (PACP) Leaders meeting in Rarotonga this week has endorsed the signing of the Samoa Agreement in Apia next week.

This was confirmed by Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown after the PACP Leaders meeting in Rarotonga, Tuesday.

“The key outcome was the acknowledgement of the Samoa Agreement signing which will take place in Apia next week. And the resounding support and endorsement by the Pacific Leaders for the finalisation, the signing and the ratification this particular agreement, Brown told journalists.

The post-Cotonou deal between the European Union (EU) and the 79-member Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) in Apia on 15 November will mark the beginning of the implementation process.

European Union Ambassador (EU) to the Pacific, Barbara Plinkert told leaders on Tuesday the Samoa Agreement will include a specific Pacific-EU Protocol.

The provisional application pending ratification of the Samoa Agreement will commence on the 01 January 2024.

The pact was initialled in April 2021 after several years of negotiations and delays but remains unratified after negotiations concluded between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific(ACP) States.

The special relation that the OACPS share with the European Union, is governed by the Cotonou Partnership Agreement to be soon replaced with the new Samoa Agreement.

The successor to the 2000 Cotonou Agreement promises greater political dialogue and development cooperation, though it will not change trading arrangements between the EU and ACP, which will continue to be based on the regional economic partnership agreements and the Anything But Arms (EBA) agreement.

It also includes chapters on security and migration, one of the most controversial issues throughout the talks, including new commitments from the ACP countries on return and re-admission of failed economic migrants, and new text on agreeing “circular migration” and legal pathways into Europe.

The signing in Apia will last for a period of 20 years, that embraces OACPS member states objectives with the European Union.