EU Lays Foundation for Better Partnership with Africa
The European Commission and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy today, introduced a new framework for partnership with Africa. The communication aims to intensify cooperation through partnerships in five key areas: green transition; digital transformation; sustainable growth and jobs; peace and governance; and migration and mobility. As stated in the document, Europe will discuss with African Partners towards a new partnership, to be endorsed at the European Union – African Union Summit in October 2020.
European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, said: “Today’s Strategy with Africa is the roadmap to move forward and bring our partnership to the next level. Africa is the European Union’s natural partner and neighbour. Together we can build a more prosperous, more peaceful and more sustainable future for all.”
High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission for a stronger Europe in the World, Josep Borrell, said: “A part of Europe’s future is at stake in Africa. To face our common challenges, we need a strong Africa, and Africa needs a strong Europe. There is everything to gain from reinforcing our already very strong partnership in areas such as peace and stability, poverty and inequalities, terrorism and extremism. Both our continents need each other to strengthen themselves, to strengthen each other, and to achieve a common ambition: a better world based on a rules-based international order.”
The proposals draw on an increasing momentum in relations between the EU and Africa. With the 6th African Union-EU Summit and the completion of talks on the new EU-African, Caribbean and Pacific Partnership Agreement
The enhanced partnership cooperation around the five areas outlined today will develop on an ongoing dialog with African partners, which will be followed ahead of the next EU-AU Summit in Brussels in October 2020 with a view to identifying joint strategic objectives for the coming years.
The partnership should be based on clear understanding of our respective and mutual interests and responsibilities.
The Communication proposes that the EU partners with Africa on the following actions:
- Maximise the benefits of the green transition and minimise threats to the environment in full compliance with the Paris Agreement
- Boost the continent’s digital transformation
- Substantially increase environmentally, socially and financially sustainable investments that are resilient to the impacts of climate change; promote investment opportunities by scaling up the use of innovative financing mechanisms and boost regional and continental economic integration, particularly through the African Continental Free Trade Agreement
- Attract investors by supporting African states in adopting policies and regulatory reforms that improve the business environment and investment climate, including a level-playing field for business
- Rapidly enhance learning, knowledge and skills, research and innovation capacities, particularly for women and youth, protecting and improving social rights, and eradicating child labour
- Adapt and deepen EU support to African peace efforts through a more structured and strategic form of cooperation, with a particular focus on regions where vulnerabilities are the highest
Integrating good governance, democracy, human rights, the rule of law and gender equality in action and cooperation
- Secure resilience by linking humanitarian, development, peace and security interventions at all stages of the cycle of conflicts and crises
- Ensure balanced, coherent and comprehensive partnerships on migration and mobility
Strengthen the international rules-based order and the multilateral system, with the United Nations at its core
How It All Began
on 27 February 2020, The European Commission and the African Union Commission met in Addis Abeba for the 10th’ Commission to Commission ‘ meeting, where the potential cooperation in the aforementioned fields was discussed. Another important opportunity to discuss African partners will be the AU-EU Ministerial Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of both continents in May.
The proposals also draw on the commitments made at the 5th EU-African Union Summit in Abidjan. Progress achieved since then includes the Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Employment launch in 2018, calling for improved economic and trade ties through sustainable investment and job creation. AU-EU Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2018 on Peace, Security and Governance was also an important landmark, deepening cooperation in these areas.
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