The Continental Approach

Bringing Africa-EU relations to a new level: the Joint Africa-EU Strategy

The Strategic Partnership established in 2007 in Lisbon has moved the Africa-EU relationship to a new level. Both sides agreed to pursue common interests and strategic objectives together, beyond the focus of traditional development policy. The two continents started cooperating as equal partners.

Since 2007, the Partnership has considerably extended the Africa-EU political dialogue and cooperation. Innovative working arrangements (illustrated by the establishment of the EU Delegation to the African Union   in Addis Abeba, the participation of actors such as the European and Pan-African parliaments, civil society or the private sector and the broadening of the scope of the African Peace Facility) have led to tangible results.

The Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) defines the long-term policy orientations between the two continents, based on a shared vision and common principles. It is the overall political framework defining the relations between Africa and the EU. Its four main objectives are:

1. Improving the Africa-EU political partnership
2. Promoting: 

  • peace, security, democratic governance and human rights
  • basic freedoms, gender equality 
  • sustainable economic development, including industrialisation 
  • regional and continental integration 
  • ensuring that all the Millennium Development Goals are met in all African countries by 2015

3. Effective multilateralism
4. A people-centred partnership

Daily implementation of the Strategic Partnership

The Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) strategic orientations are being implemented on a day to day basis through Action Plans which have reinforced the intercontinental dialogue and led to concrete action in key areas of common concern. The two successive action plans are structured around eight thematic areas:

1. Peace and Security
2. Democratic Governance and Human Rights
3. Regional Economic Integration, Trade and Infrastructure
4. Millennium Development Goals
5. Climate Change
6. Energy
7. Migration, Mobility and Employment
8. Science, Information Society and Space

The 2nd Action Plan (2011-2013) was adopted at the last Africa-EU Summit which took place in November 2010 in Libya. The Summit also adopted the Tripoli declaration . This plan builds up on experience gained from the 1st Action Plan (2008-2010).

For more information on the Strategic Partnership with Africa, please consult