On 8 September 2020, the European Union (EU) and the Republic of Angola held the fifth Ministerial meeting organised under the framework of the EU-Angola Joint Way Forward (JWF). The meeting took place by videoconference. The Joint Way Forward is a dedicated framework for dialogue and cooperation based on common interests and shared values.
The meeting was co-chaired on the EU side by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Mr Josep Borrell Fontelles, and on the Angolan side by the Minister for External Relations of the Republic of Angola, H.E. Mr Tete Antonio. The meeting was also attended on the EU side by the Executive Vice-President of the European Commission, Mr Valdis Dombrovskis, and on the Angolan side by the Minister of Industry and Trade, Mr. Victor Fernandes, and the State Secretary for Economy, Mr Mario Caetano.
The Ministerial talks covered a broad spectrum of political and security issues, as well as an exchange on the impact of and response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and on further enhancement of bilateral cooperation, trade relations and cooperation in multilateral fora. The two sides expressed their satisfaction with the JWF as a framework, which remains relevant to a deepening partnership and responsive to the need to tackle together both existing and future challenges.
POLITICAL AND SECURITY ISSUES
Regional political and security priorities
The European Union congratulated Angola for holding the Secretariat-General of the Africa, Caribbean, Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the Chair of the Economic Community Central African States (ECCAS) Commission.
The two sides pledged to increase the scope of their work on peace and security. They exchanged views on the regional situation in central and southern Africa, noting the important role played by Angola in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), ECCAS and the International Conference on the Great Lakes (ICGLR) and in cooperation in the Gulf of Guinea. They touched upon a number of specific situations, such as the peace process in the Central African Republic, and the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Region, with a focus on actions to prevent and mitigate conflicts and to address the root causes of instability. In this perspective, they reaffirmed their commitment to pursue dialogue and cooperation in bilateral, regional and multilateral fora in different key priority areas, including human rights, in line with the ongoing activities of the EU-Angola Working Group on Human Rights. Whenever possible, EU-UN-AU trilateral cooperation would be promoted.
Cooperation in the field of security and defence
The two sides had a first discussion on different areas of interest for a possible EU-Angola structured cooperation in the field of security and defence. Both sides intend to look into establishing a partnership on security and defence. The first step would be the identification of priority issues of mutual interest, with a focus on possible concrete areas for cooperation, building on good ongoing cooperation on maritime security, through the holding of technical consultations. The two sides will explore avenues for further joint-cooperation in support to the Yaoundé architecture for maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea and the potential participation of Angola in EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions or operations.
European Union – African Union agenda: preparation of the Summit
The European Union and Angola stressed the importance of the upcoming Summit to set an ambitious agenda for the future with joint strategic priorities. In this respect, the EU updated Angola on the proposals put forward in its Joint Communication “Towards a Comprehensive Strategy with Africa”. They agreed that sustainable investment and jobs, linked to the green transition and the digital transformation alongside governance and peace and security would be priority areas. Both sides stressed their adherence to the promotion and protection of the rules-based multilateral system. They reaffirmed their commitment in World Trade Organisation (WTO) reform and in making their best efforts for a successful Twelfth WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12).
COVID-19 CRISIS – FUTURE EU-ANGOLA COOPERATION
COVID-19 impact and response
The sides exchanged on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe, in Angola and more broadly in Africa and globally, including the importance of an environmentally sustainable economic recovery. The European Union introduced the “Team Europe” support package and explained the EU hosted “Worldwide Vaccine Pledging Marathon” to ensure the universal deployment of diagnostics, treatments and vaccines. Angola shared information on the country’s response strategy. Beyond the purely health-related issues, both sides discussed options for concerted action to tackle the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic, as well as the implications for peace and security. The EU and Angola confirmed their mutual commitment to supporting the UN Secretary-General’s call to “build back better” by investing in sustainable and resilient societies, recommitting to the Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Preliminary exchange of views on the future of the EU-Angola cooperation
The EU updated Angola on the state of play of the future EU Multiannual Financial Framework. They had a preliminary exchange on possible common interest areas for future cooperation based on Angola and EU priorities (Green Deal, digitalisation, economic growth and jobs creation (including trade and investments) and governance, sustainable economic diversification, resilience to the impacts of climate change, the transition to green energy and to a low carbon economy). They agreed that the global economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic represents an opportunity to pursue green sustainable economic recovery and to build a more resilient model of economic growth.
Additional EU support to Angola
The European Union announced the preparation of a new package of up to €20 million in order to support Angola’s Covid-19 socio-economic response including economic formalisation. This comes in recognition of the comprehensive reform agenda of the Angolan government which includes the Macroeconomic Stabilisation Programme, improvements in Public Finance Management and commitments towards protecting the most vulnerable through social sector spending and social protection programmes. This €20 million action would complement the €10 million of funds already mobilised under existing programmes to make available emergency health supplies, provide humanitarian assistance to food insecure populations, deliver services to those affected by the State of Emergency and contribute to research on food and nutrition security of the most vulnerable.
Both sides concurred on the need to join forces to tackle the global challenge of climate change. In this perspective, the EU very much welcomed Angola’s ratification of the Paris Agreement. This ratification constitutes an important step in the context of the trade and sustainable development commitments taken in the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and the SADC EPA States.
The EU presented its newly adopted action plan to combat money laundering and Angola provided a state of play of the country's efforts to fight corruption and illicit financial flows. The parties recognised the importance of coordinated action in this field and agreed to explore avenues for further cooperation.
Both sides agreed on the importance of ongoing reforms in the critical areas of strategic natural resources, including extractive minerals. The EU updated on preparations to implement, as from next year, the 2021 Regulation (EU) 2017/821, which lays down supply chain due diligence obligations for EU importers of tin, tantalum and tungsten, and gold originating from conflict-affected and high-risk areas, and both sides agreed on the importance of supporting the ICGLR in coordinating regional action on minerals due diligence. In the context of the Kimberley Process, a multilateral commitment to remove conflict diamonds from the global supply chain, the EU reiterated its appreciation of Angola’s active role, particularly in its leadership of the Ad Hoc Committee on Review and Reform in 2019. The EU underlined its commitment towards further strengthening the Kimberley Process as unique tool for conflict prevention and sustainable development, and to working closely with Angola in this regard.
EU-ANGOLA TRADE COOPERATION
The EU and Angola stressed their ambition to build a solid trade and investment partnership. In order to achieve this, several work streams were discussed.
First, in an effort to promote bilateral, regional and continental trade and investment flows, both sides hope that the EU-SADC EPA accession process of Angola can start as soon as possible in 2020. The aim is to finalise the discussions on the terms of Angola’s accession by 2021. In addition, the EU affirmed its support for the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), standing ready to share its expertise with Angola, as well as for the long-term prospect of creating a comprehensive continent-to-continent free-trade area.
Second, both sides confirmed their intention to organise a high-level EU-Angola business event in the first half of 2021, bringing together representatives of business and public authorities with the aim of discussing how jointly to enhance trade and investment. The discussion would focus on sectors with potential for growth and value addition, and on those which could contribute to the diversification of Angola’s production base.
Finally, both sides confirmed their intention to start exploratory discussions on an EU-Angola investment agreement, on top of the EPA, focusing on investment facilitation. Such an arrangement would be a novelty for EU action in the Sub-Saharan region. To support these goals, both sides plan to continue and deepen economic diplomacy activities, focusing on improving the business climate and ensuring conditions conducive to sustainable investment, economic growth and job creation.
The European Union and Angola reiterated their full commitment to maintaining the Joint Way Forward as a forum for constructive dialogue and cooperation based on the principles of mutual respect, openness, and a commitment to promoting human rights, democracy, the rule of law and transparency. Such a partnership would allow continued future cooperation with a view to tackling bilateral, regional and global challenges in the mutual interest of both Angola and the EU.
The next Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) would be organised in Brussels, during the first half of 2021. This SOM should be dedicated to exploring new avenues for cooperation.
Both sides agreed that the next (sixth) Ministerial Meeting would take place in 2021 in Luanda.