Africa-EU relations are framed by the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) adopted by 80 African and European Heads of State and Government at the Lisbon Summit in 2007. This Strategy encompasses the Africa-EU Partnership, the political framework which defines bilateral relations. Its goal is a partnership between equals that will jointly tackle issues of mutual concern. It was reaffirmed with a positive spin at the 4th EU-Africa Summit held in April 2014 in Brussels.
Annual College-to-College (C2C) meetings between the European Commission and African Union Commission provide political guidance to transform this partnership into concrete cooperation. More or less all possible areas of cooperation are covered.
In adopting its 2014-2017 roadmap, the Brussels summit focussed the cooperation on five strategic areas:
- peace and security
- democracy, good governance and human rights
- human development
- sustainable and inclusive development and growth and continental integration
- global and emerging issues.
This agenda is supported by the first ever African programme with a continental dimension: the Pan-African Programme (845 million EUR 2014-2020 under the Development Cooperation Instrument).
The next Africa-EU summit is foreseen to take place in Africa in 2017.
April 2015 : 7th meeting between the European Commission and the African Union Commission
This meeting boosted relations under the 2007 Joint Africa-EU Strategy. Its aims were to:
- strengthen the strategic partnership between the EU and Africa - a priority for the European Commission
- take stock of current cooperation and discuss the 2 Commissions' priorities
- discuss future cooperation. Discussions in plenary covered the 5 priorities on the current road map for the Joint Africa-EU Strategy
April 2014 : 4th EU-Africa Summit (Brussels)
This summit confirmed both sides' commitment to the objectives set out in the 2007 Joint Africa-EU Strategy. Leaders agreed to improve implementation through a roadmap for EU-Africa relations (2014-2017) covering 5 areas for joint action:
- Peace & security
- Democracy, good governance & human rights
- Human development
- Sustainable & inclusive development & growth, continental integration
- Global & emerging issues
Since the EU-Africa Summit, the EU has been able to reflect the new priorities in its programming process.
2013 : The Pan-African Programme was set up
- Financed by - Development Cooperation Instrument
- Budget - €845m (2014-2020)
The European Commission has approved its Multiannual Indicative Programme for 2014-2017 and the first 12 projects to be implemented (with total funding of €107m). These include:
- higher education & research
- public finance management
- developing essential statistics
Peace & security
The EU works together closely with the African Union in this area. One illustration is the joint visit to Mali in February 2015 by the African Union's Peace and Security Council and the EU's Political and Security Committee.
The EU's African Peace Facility, which has a budget of €750m for 2014 – 2016, has provided much of the funding for African-led peacekeeping operations, as well for operationalising the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), helping to improve African capacities and mechanisms to prevent and manage conflicts and crises.
Main beneficiaries - peace support operations, e.g. the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA).
The April 2015 meeting between the European Commission and the African Union Commission discussed migration against the backdrop of the tragic loss of life in the Mediterranean. Participants called for comprehensive measures to tackle illegal immigration and human trafficking. The European Commission has now presented an action plan on migration.
Development & mitigating climate change
Other key cross-cutting topics discussed at the April 2015 meeting included the post-2015 agenda (and finance for development). Particular emphasis was placed on the need for joint efforts to achieve a good outcome, global pandemics and climate change.
The meeting adopted a Joint Declaration and 3 stand-alone documents dealing with (i) infrastructure, (ii) space, and (iii) agriculture.
Visit the Africa-EU Partnership website for documents on the meeting's outcomes.