Relations between the European Union (EU) and Africa cover areas such as peace and security, democracy, human rights, development and sustainable economic growth.
The partnership between the EU and Africa aims at building a peaceful, safe, secure environment, which fosters:
- human security
- political stability
- effective governance
- sustainable and inclusive growth.
The African Union (AU) leads efforts across the continent to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts. The EU is a key partner for the AU on peace and security issues. Work in these areas has strong political backing and financial support from the EU’s African Peace Facility (APF).
Much of the funding for African-led peacekeeping operations comes from the APF, which has a budget of €900 million for the period 2014-2016.
EU PSC and AU PSC Cooperation
Cooperation between the EU Political and Security Committee (EU PSC) and the AU Peace and Security Council (AU PSC) is a key element of the EU-Africa peace and security dialogue. The objective is to address international issues, reach common positions and implement common approaches on challenges to peace and security in Africa.
The EU PSC and AU PSC meet on an annual basis in Brussels or in Addis Ababa. The Permanent Chair of the EU PSC and the monthly Chair of the AU PSC are in regular contact and their teams ensure the flow of information on foreign and security policy.
African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA)
The EU is the leading supporter of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). In response to a request by African leaders, the APF was created in 2004 as an innovative instrument which provides the main source of funding to support APSA.
Substantial EU funding has been committed under the APF to support a range of actions including:
- peace support operations
- capacity building
- conflict prevention.
The EU provides assistance to African institutions in the area of crisis prevention and peace building through exchanging technical guidance, training and equipment.
The AU Continental Early Warning system is benefiting from the EU's support and cooperation. The EU also backs other flagship initiatives of the APSA such as the Panel of the Wise and the PanWise Network. All these actions work towards the AU objective of Silencing the Guns by 2020 in Africa.
Counter Terrorism, Organised Crime, Drugs and Maritime Security
Europe and Africa are increasing their cooperation to address issues of common concern, such as:
- terrorism and related threats;
- transnational organised crime including trafficking of human beings, drugs and weapons;
- the illegal trade in wildlife.
The EU, AU and their respective countries are developing a coordinated approach to the issue of maritime security including counter-piracy efforts, and the fight against illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing. These actions are carried out under the African Integrated Maritime Strategy 2050 and the EU Integrated Maritime Policy.
The EU-AU Maritime Ministerial Meeting which took place in the Seychelles at the end of 2015 helped to raise awareness of threats posed by criminality at sea.
Human Rights and Conflict
The EU and the AU are committed to strengthening cooperation to improve human rights. The focus is on protecting civilians and on ending sexual violence, in particular with regard to women and children. The full and effective participation and representation of women in peace and security processes is a key priority.
The EU and its countries are among major providers of assistance to children affected by armed conflict. This means:
- offering substantial help to demobilise and reintegrate child soldiers;
- helping child victims through psycho-social and socio-economic reintegration;
- supporting transitional justice;
- involving children in prevention activities.