ISSUES OF THE AFRICA-EUROPE SUMMIT ON APRIL 2014: A Critical Look at the Africa-Europe Partnership

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AU-EU summitThe Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) – adopted in  Lisbon in 2007 – was supposed to lay the foundations  and principles of a paradigm shift in the relationship  between Africa and Europe mainly based on aid   dependence and the creed of free trade since the   Cotonou Agreement signed in 2000.

The Africa-EU   Strategy and the implementation of the action plan, considered as the new policy framework for Africa-EU  relations, aimed to create the conditions for a new  political partnership between equals.

Seven years after  the adoption of the JAES and in the light of a new  Africa-Europe Summit, both sides agree to recognize
that the partnership was essentially technical and  bureaucratic, and did not succeed to achieve either these  ambitious goals nor a new dynamic in the relations  between the two parts.

The African side meanwhile, has completed a critical  evaluation of this partnership at a meeting held from  june 10 to 13, 2013 in Zanzibar by the African Union,  which brought together all the stakeholders mobilized  by the JAES (Member States, Representatives of the  AUC, NPCA-NEPAD, APRM, PAP, RECs, CSOs,  Think tanks…). Beyond the analysis of difficulties in the  implementation of the strategy and its fundamental  flaws, it is important to ensure that the african side will  speak with one voice on this issue at the next Summit.
This is obviously an approach and a political issue that should be seriously debated in the political organs of the
African Union.

The solemn declaration on the 50th  anniversary of the OAU/AU adopted at the 21st Session  of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government  on May 26, 2013 reiterated this need for Africa to speak  with one voice and to act collectively in order to  promote its interests and common positions in all its partnerships.

 

Prospects for the next Africa-Europe  Summit on April 2014

 

The next meeting of the Heads of State and  Government of the African Union in January 2014  represents the single biggest opportunity for them to  make a political statement on the assessment of the  Africa-EU strategy and on the expectations concerning  the next Africa-EU Summit scheduled for April 2014.

On the european side, 2014 is the last year in  office of the current European Commission under the  direction of Mr. Barroso; and the european elections are  scheduled for June 2014. It is obvious that for the last  year of operation – and in a context of economic,  political and social major crisis – the European  Commission and the Member States do not consider  Africa as a priority and have less the need to rebuild the  foundations of a new partnership.

Moreover, the  emergency of an aggiornamento of the european  approach of partnership with Africa – taking into
account the major concerns of social and economic  transformation of the continent – is not captured by the  european side.

Read more on the Africa Governance Institute

 

 

 

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