“Cooperation is also reflected in the limited power given to civil society groups in the framework of EU trade policy. At EU level, despite the access granted to NGOs through the dialogue of civil society within the DG Commerce, these actors have not really had an impact on the results of trade policy. The situation is similar in the context of civil society mechanisms in EU trade agreements: while the EU`s national and transnational mechanisms meet in practice, participating civil society cannot formulate enforceable rules (Orbie, et al, 2017, p. 532).” A free trade agreement in the deepest sense of the word is an attempt by existing industries to find new markets. Their need to do so stems from industrialization – that is.dem process of developing sectors that attract a high level of protection on the international market. In other words, sectors seeking domestic markets are generally the driving force behind free trade agreements. African countries are currently negotiating with EU officials a successor to the Cotonou Partnership Agreement, which expires in 2020. In the context of these discussions, there remains a central theme for efforts to implement the fight against poverty and development, namely the EU Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). The European Commission began negotiations on EPAs with the signing of Cotonou in 2000. A number of regional EPAs are expected to be commissioned soon in East Africa, West Africa, Central and Southern Africa. However, it is worrying that many African stakeholders remain concerned that EPAs are totally incompatible with EU poverty reduction commitments. In other words, these inequitable trade agreements will expose the African children`s industry and agri-processing to unfair competition from EU producers, leading to the collapse of vital sectors such as poultry. This opinion therefore examines the debates on the marriage of EPAs in terms of promises of development.
It warns EU officials to pay more attention to persistent concerns about the inadequacies of dialogued civil society and aid-for-trade initiatives in order to establish the circle of their “development-friendly” EPAs. It is therefore not surprising that a number of African civil societies are actively trying to challenge EU trade policy and to call on EU officials to reconsider unfavourable EPAs with regard to their negative effects on sustainable development in Africa. In Cameroon, for example, the Civil Association for the Defence of Collective Interests (ACDIC) has carried out a leading local campaign entitled “Chickens of Death”, which has mobilised consumers for the consumption of poultry products in the region at the expense of frozen meats from EU Member States.