Tag Archives: EU-Africa partnership

EU-Africa partnership

EU-Africa partnership

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about EU-Africa partnership


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Development > African Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP)

EU-Africa partnership

Relations between the European Union (EU) and Africa have traditionally been conducted through two regional groupings: the African countries that are part of the ACP group and the African countries of the Mediterranean. However, at the beginning of the new millennium, the EU launched a new dialogue with Africa to build a strategic partnership with the entire continent which would strengthen existing measures. The first summit between the EU and Africa was held in Cairo in April 2000.

Plan of Action

A Plan of Action was adopted at the summit, highlighting six main general areas:

  • economic issues (particularly regional economic cooperation and integration in Africa);
  • integrating Africa into the world economy,
  • deepening the link between trade and development at international level in order to ensure that trade liberalisation contributes to poverty reduction is one of the objectives of the partnership;
  • respect for, and protection of, human rights, democratic principles and institutions, the rule of law and good governance;
  • peace-building and conflict prevention, management and resolution in Africa;
  • development measures to combat poverty (in the areas of education, health and food security, for example).

However, these areas are extremely broad and initially eight more specific areas of action were chosen:

  • conflict prevention and resolution (including the problem of anti-personnel landmines);
  • regional cooperation and integration, integrating Africa into the world economy and trade;
  • the environment, including the fight against drought and desertification;
  • HIV/AIDS and communicable diseases;
  • food security;
  • human rights and democracy;
  • the return of cultural items that have been stolen or exported illegally;
  • Africa’s external debt (the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative affects African countries in particular).

Both parties meet regularly at various levels to ensure that the Plan of Action is being followed up. The three main mechanisms are: summits of the heads of state or government, ministerial meetings, which take place between summits, and meetings of bi-regional groups.

First ministerial meeting
5.The first ministerial meeting between the African and EU representatives was held on 11 October 2001 in Brussels. Some progress has been made since the Cairo Summit, in particular in the areas of regional integration, HIV/AIDS, food security, human rights, democracy and good governance.

New topics included on the agenda

6. Since the adoption of the Plan of Action, other important topics have been added to the agenda, including the creation of the African Union (AU), the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the situation in the Great Lakes region and the fight against terrorism.

The AU and the NEPAD are two important initiatives launched by African states in 2001 which have the full backing of the EU. The AU was created by African states in March 2001 to replace the Organisation of African Unity. This political organisation provides a framework for, and strengthens, political and economic regional cooperation and integration between African countries and important institutions will be set up to achieve this. The NEPAD was developed by African states and represents a commitment on the part of the African heads of state to work to eradicate poverty and to promote sustainable development and growth, whilst playing a full role in global political and economic life.

The conflicts in the Great Lakes region have given rise to considerable concern among both parties. The EU contributes to the prevention and resolution of these conflicts in the region in several ways, for instance by granting aid within the framework of development cooperation (particularly the European Development Fund and aid from resources under the common foreign and security policy (CFSP). One example of this is the EU’s support for the inter-Congolese dialogue and participation in initiatives to reintegrate child soldiers into society.

Following the 11 September 2001 attacks in the United States, a declaration on the fight against terrorism was published at the end of the ministerial meeting to express the will of the African states and the EU to work together to put an end to this scourge.

Development of the dialogue

The EU-Africa dialogue was the subject of a Commission communication in July 2003. The communication explored various ideas for relaunching the dialogue and proposed that institutional links be reinforced to help Africa deal with the political problems and development-related issues it faces.

On 12 July 2003, the African Heads of State or Government met in Maputo, Mozambique for the first meeting of the AU since it was created in Durban in July 2002. The European Commission was represented as an expression of the EU’s support for the AU and in order to discuss the EU-Africa dialogue. A great deal of progress has already been made with regard to human rights and democracy thanks to the formulation of common values and the introduction of penalties when these values are not respected.

Following this meeting, in December 2003, the EU Council approved a decision on the financing of a peace facility for Africa from the European Development Fund. This move was in response to a request made at the AU summit and is intended to support African institutions and peacekeeping measures. It will require cooperation between the AU, regional organisations in Africa, the EU and the United Nations.

In recent years, EU-AU dialogue has been stepped up and achieved results on a number of fronts. In 2005 the EU undertook to increase public development aid by EUR 20 billion per year by 2010, of which over half will be earmarked for Africa. A new Africa strategy was also adopted in October 2005 to support the continent’s efforts to achieve the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, (MDGs).

This strategy proposes forging a strategic security and development partnership between the EU and Africa. The strategy focuses on key requirements for sustainable development such as peace and security, good and effective governance, trade, interconnectivity, social cohesion and environmental sustainability. New initiatives have been launched, most notably a governance initiative and a Euro-African Partnership for Infrastructure, which was launched in July 2006.

Under the Governance Initiative, the EU will, for instance, provide support for reforms triggered by the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), a unique tool for peer review and peer learning in good democratic governance by and for Africans. And in the context of the Partnership for Infrastructure, the EU will support programmes that facilitate interconnectivity at continental level to promote regional trade, integration, stability and development.

Taking EU-Africa dialogue forward

Taking EU-Africa dialogue forward

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Taking EU-Africa dialogue forward


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Development > African Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP)

Taking EU-Africa dialogue forward

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council: The EU-Africa dialogue [COM(2003) 316 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The communication looks at how the EU can mainstream the new pan-African dimension into its cooperation and speaks of the need to build bridges between the different agreements that already exist between the EU and Africa: Cotonou, Euro-MED agreements and the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement with South Africa (TDCA). This could apply to the area of trade, to procurement rules for EU-funded projects, and to the programming of aid.


The main aims of the EU-Africa dialogue are:

  • to strengthen political, economic and socio-cultural EU-Africa relations;
  • to eradicate poverty and attain the Millennium Development Goals in Africa, as well as implementing commitments recently made in international conferences (Doha, Monterrey and the World Summit on Sustainable Development);
  • to promote human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Africa.

The EU-Africa dialogue is organised around eight priority themes in order to achieve concrete outcomes:

  • human rights, democracy and good governance;
  • prevention and settlement of conflicts;
  • food security;
  • HIV/AIDS and other pandemics;
  • environment;
  • regional integration and trade;
  • external debt;
  • the return of illicitly exported cultural goods.

The communication takes each theme in turn, reports on the progress achieved and considers what future progress might be made.

Human rights, democracy and good governance

Dialogue on these themes is conducted around the topics of human trafficking, support for African institutions and the fight against corruption.

The Commission adopted a further communication in October 2003 on governance and development which proposes a new, more pragmatic approach to the promotion of good governance.

With a view to promoting good governance, the EU also proposed an action plan to combat illegal logging in its October 2003 communication on forest law enforcement and forestry management. Illegal logging in some countries has become such a chronic problem that it undermines the rule of law and principles of good governance.

The EU also wishes to deepen cooperation with Africa in the area of human resource development, especially universal primary education for both boys and girls, which is an essential element of the promotion of good governance.

Prevention and settlement of conflicts

The African Union gives priority to addressing conflicts, as shown by the decision taken by the African Union (AU) in July 2002 on setting up a Continent-wide Peace and Security Council and the adoption of a work programme on peace and security by all AU Member States.

In November 2003, the EU Council approved a draft decision on the financing of a Peace Facility for Africa from the European Development Fund (EDF) in response to a request made by the AU summit in Maputo in July 2003. This initiative, designed to support African institutions and measures to promote peace-keeping, will require cooperation between the AU, African regional organisations, the EU and the United Nations.

It is also essential to include measures to improve governance of natural resources within the framework of the EU-Africa dialogue on conflict prevention. Wars are actually waged to gain control of valuable resources for the purposes of private gain and natural resources, which could be exploited to raise money for the public purse, have frequently been used to fund and prolong armed conflict. This phenomenon is now acknowledged as being a major cause of conflicts in Africa.

Food security

The EU-Africa dialogue adopted a joint document reflecting a shared understanding of food security and the role of food aid which provided a basis for developing common positions in the areas of biotechnology, sanitary and phytosanitary standards, animal diseases and agricultural research.

The future dialogue should focus more on the political dimensions of food security, tackling such issues as access to productive resources (land, water) and equity.

HIV/AIDS and other pandemics

The EU and the countries of Africa agree that there is a need to strengthen health systems in African countries within a comprehensive framework of prevention, treatment and care and to increase health financing by the national governments and the international donor community. They also agree on the need for a joint approach in the areas of tiered pricing arrangements, technology transfer and local production so as to improve access to affordable medicines.


While the fight against drought and desertification is considered the main priority, other priorities under this heading include:

  • international environmental governance;
  • cooperation in preparing national strategies;
  • the link between poverty and the environment;
  • the regional dimension of environmental issues;
  • strengthening the capacity of the African countries to negotiate and implement international environmental agreements;
  • jointly looking for ways to improve the Global Environmental Facility;
  • integrated water resources management;
  • the prevention of natural disasters.

Note the EU Water Initiative which promoted the setting up of a European Water Facility to help give people in the African Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP) access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation. Similarly, the creation of a European Energy Facility for ACP countries demonstrates the commitment of the EU to supporting the provision of adequate, affordable, sustainable energy services.

Mainstreaming of environmental issues into poverty eradication efforts should be a basic principle in EU-Africa cooperation considering that environmental protection is not a limitation to development but the base for sustainable livelihoods.

Regional integration and trade

Since the first EU-Africa summit, the EU has stepped up its support for regional integration by contributing to the integration of African countries into the world economy.

The Cotonou Agreement, signed in June 2000, for example, attaches a high priority to promoting regional cooperation and integration. It made substantial changes to the existing system to bring it into line with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules and to allow the ACP States to participate fully in international trade. October 2003 saw the opening of negotiations on new regional economic partnership agreements with CEMAC (the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa) and ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States).

The EU and Africa will continue their cooperation and regular dialogue on WTO matters notably in the context of the Doha Development Agenda with a view to mainstreaming the development dimension in all areas of negotiations.

External debt

This sensitive issue has generated considerable debate and arguments on either side. As a contribution to the dialogue on debt, the Commission has decided to finance a study that will investigate the sustainability of the heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC) initiative. The Commission will ensure that the study reflects the views of the Member States, African countries, World Bank/IMF and other interested partners. Once this study is completed, the Commission is willing to table the relevant elements as a contribution to the EU-Africa dialogue.

The return of illicitly exported cultural goods

A set of guiding principles and concrete recommendations for action has been drawn up in the framework of the EU-Africa dialogue. The EU has established a preliminary inventory of all relevant ongoing cooperation activities between EU and African stakeholders.

The dialogue fosters adherence by all countries in the EU and Africa to the relevant international conventions, in particular the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property and the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects.


The communication also highlights ways in which Europe and Africa could initiate a more flexible, simplified, direct and political dialogue.

Potential lines of action are envisaged for strengthening institutional ties between the European Community and the AU:

  • at senior official level;
  • in bi-regional working parties;
  • between the AU and the EU Heads of Mission based in Addis Ababa in the framework of the regular dialogue and coordination for peace and security;
  • between the Brussels-based African Heads of Mission;
  • and, lastly, between the AU/EU Commissions.


The dialogue at continental level between the EU and Africa began in Cairo in April 2000 at the first EU-Africa summit. The aim of the dialogue is to build a strategic partnership with the whole continent based on shared objectives and common values. These can be found in the Treaty of the European Union, the Cotonou Agreement and the Barcelona process, as well as in the Constitutive Act of the African Union (AU), created in 2002, and in the manifesto of NEPAD, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, launched in 2001.

At a crucial point in time for EU-Africa relations, this communication takes stock of the dialogue between the two parties and proposes ways of taking it forward.

From a strategy for Africa to an EU-Africa strategic partnership

From a strategy for Africa to an EU-Africa strategic partnership

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about From a strategy for Africa to an EU-Africa strategic partnership


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Development > African Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP)

From a strategy for Africa to an EU-Africa strategic partnership

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 27 June 2007 – From Cairo to Lisbon – The EU-Africa Strategic Partnership [COM(2007) 357 final – not published in the Official Journal].



The first historic European Union (EU)-Africa summit, which was held in Cairo in 2000, launched a more structured political dialogue between the EU and Africa, in particular through regular meetings between senior officials and ministers. Following the creation of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) in 2001 and the African Union (AU) in 2002, a second summit should have been held in Lisbon in 2003 but was postponed due to controversy over the participation of certain countries.

In October 2005, at a joint meeting with the AU Commission, the European Commission adopted a Communication on the EU strategy for Africa, which was formally approved by the European Council in December of the same year. This strategy has reinforced the coherence of internal EU policy and the coordination of the Commission and the Member States’ policies towards Africa.

In December 2005, participants at the fifth EU-Africa ministerial meeting in Bamako agreed that the next step should be to develop a joint EU-Africa strategy. This position was subsequently confirmed by the European Council in December 2006 and by the AU summit in January 2007.

This joint strategy will serve to reinforce the political dialogue between the EU and Africa in order to:

  • go beyond the framework of simple development cooperation by opening up the dialogue to common political concerns and issues of common interest;
  • go beyond the African continent by moving on from a strategy focused exclusively on African concerns to address European and global issues and, as a result, take action in the relevant fora;
  • move beyond fragmented support for African aspirations to find regional and global solutions to the most important challenges;
  • guarantee increased participation of African and European citizens on the strategic partnership and thus contribute to the strengthening of civil society in both continents.

Following approval of the broad thrust of the joint strategy at the eighth EU-Africa ministerial troika meeting, the finalised strategy was adopted at the second EU-Africa summit (see “Related acts”).


The joint strategy will pursue four political objectives, namely:

  • reinforcement of the partnership, transforming it into a genuine partnership of equals;
  • promotion of key issues with respect to development, such as peace and security, governance and human rights, trade and regional and continental integration in Africa;
  • joint response to global challenges;
  • promotion of a wide-based and wide-ranging people-centred partnership.

Specifically, the European Commission is proposing five joint initiatives, which will be included in an action plan annexed to the joint strategy. They are:

An energy partnership

This partnership will create a platform aiming at:

  • reinforcing the current dialogue on issues such as access to energy and energy security;
  • scaling up investment in energy infrastructure;
  • investing a higher proportion of oil and gas revenues in development activities;
  • mainstreaming climate change into development cooperation.

Moreover, the partnership should build on existing instruments, such as:

  • the overall framework of the UE-Africa infrastructure partnership and its trust fund;
  • the EU Energy Initiative (EUEI) and its ACP energy facility;
  • the national and regional indicative programmes under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF);
  • the thematic programme on the environment and sustainable management of natural resources, including energy.

Partnership on climate change

The partnership will strengthen cooperation between the EU and the AU in the following areas:

  • disaster risk reduction;
  • halting deforestation;
  • participation of developing countries in the global carbon market;
  • promotion and deployment of environmentally friendly technologies;
  • better monitoring of the environmental effects of climate change.

In January 2007 AU leaders, recognising the vulnerability of Africa to climate change, committed themselves, through the Addis Ababa Declaration, to integrating climate change into their development policies, programmes and activities at national and sub-regional level. This constitutes a sound basis for a partnership between the EU and the AU in this area.

Partnership on migration, mobility and employment

With respect to migration, cooperation between the EU and Africa will involve the establishment of a network of Africa-based migration observatories which will collect, analyse and disseminate information on migration flows within Africa and between Africa and the EU. Special attention will be given to the skilled labour issue.

As regards mobility, the partnership will aim at building African capacity in the area of migration information management. Moreover, it will encourage the movement of skilled labour through the creation of partnerships between European and African institutions such as universities and hospitals.

Finally, in order to offer Africans a genuine alternative to migration to Europe, the partnership will focus on creating more and better jobs in Africa, particularly in the formal economy.

Partnership on democratic governance

The AU and the EU must stimulate the dialogue on governance issues of mutual interest, such as human rights and natural resource management, through the creation of a governance forum that will bring together non-state actors, national parliaments, local authorities and regional organisations. Moreover, the EU will explore new strategies for increasing European Community and Member State funding to support the Pan-African governance architecture.

Political and institutional architecture

The Commission stresses the need to strengthen the dialogue between all EU and AU institutions, in particular between the European Parliament and the Pan-African Parliament, and also between the European Commission and the AU Commission. The EU and the AU could also hold joint ministerial meetings. These efforts will build on the existing biannual EU-Africa ministerial troika meetings and on summits of the Heads of State or Government, which could be held every two or three years alternately in Europe and Africa.

On this basis, the European and African partners are working together to draw up the joint strategy and the action plan. Apart from the aforementioned initiatives, the establishment of partnerships on peace and security, democratic governance and human rights, science, the information society and space is envisaged, with particular emphasis on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Related Acts

Lisbon declaration [Not published in the Official Journal] (pdf ).

This declaration, which was adopted at the close of the second EU-Africa summit on 8-9 December 2007 by the Heads of State or Government of 53 African countries and the 27 EU Member States, lays the foundations for the new strategic partnership of equals between Africa and the EU. This declaration, which contains the philosophy and commitments of the partnership, was adopted at the same time as the first joint EU-Africa strategy and its first three-year action plan (2008-2010) (pdf ).
The strategic priorities identified form the basis of eight partnerships whose progress will be assessed at the next summit in 2010. These partnerships cover the following areas: peace and security, democratic governance and human rights, trade and regional integration, achieving the MDGs, and energy, as well as science, the information society and space.

Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2007

Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2007

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2007


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Eastern europe and central asia

Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2007

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Parliament and the Council of 3.4.2008 – Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2007 [COM(2008) 0164 Final – Not published in the Official Journal].


This Communication gives a strategic review of the implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) in 2007. It assesses relations between the EU and its partners covered by the ENP, as well as the political and economic reforms carried out by these countries.

Deepening relations

Partnership and Cooperation Agreements

 (DE ES EN FR) have been concluded with neighbouring countries in the East, with the exception of Belarus, which will have the opportunity to become a full partner in the EU under the framework of the ENP provided that it engages in extensive democratic and economic reforms which would bring it in line with common European values.

Relations with Ukraine have intensified beyond the 1998 PCA and the EU-Ukraine Action Plan. The negotiation of a new Association Agreement began in 2007. It will establish a more ambitious framework, facilitate the deepening of EU-Ukraine relations in all areas, strengthen political association and economic integration between Ukraine and the European Union, as well as create a deep free trade area with the European Union.

Association Agreements have been concluded with neighbouring countries in the South under the framework of the Barcelona Process. With the exception of Syria, with whom relations are now governed by a cooperation agreement, and Libya, for whom the Council has adopted negotiating directives proposed by the Commission with a view to a future framework agreement.

Eight countries have concluded ENP Action Plans including Lebanon and Egypt in 2007. They provide a structure for implementing national reforms and strengthening bilateral cooperation with the EU. Community financial assistance is based on priorities detailed in the Action Plans. These targeted and differentiated instruments are adapted to the capacity and needs of each country. Thus cooperation relations with Israel, Morocco, Moldova and Ukraine were particularly intensified in 2007.

Progress of the reform programmes

Cooperation in terms of dialogue and political reform has been carried out in the East through progressive approximation to fundamental Community standards and in the South through integrating the values of the Barcelona Process. In particular, the measures undertaken related to democratic governance, the independence of the judiciary, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the management of migratory flows.

An open political dialogue between the EU and all partner countries should also enable progress to be made in resolving regional conflicts.

Regarding macroeconomic developments, most ENP partner countries registered high economic growth in 2007. At the same time, they have been contending with high rates of unemployment, particularly among the young in the Mediterranean ENP countries. The major challenges remain: reducing inflation and trade deficits, improving economic governance, reducing unemployment and improving working conditions. In August 2008, the Commission published an Economic Review of EU Neighbour Countries in 2007 (EN ).

Through sectoral reforms partners have made progress towards modernising their societies and towards integrating into the European market. The capacity of States to implement reforms in the long term is assessed annually in a sectoral progress report (EN ). Dialogue maintained with the EU regarding sectoral reforms aims to improve institutional functions and develop a citizen-oriented administration.

National progress reports are produced each year. They enable progress to be assessed and the identification of areas where cooperation needs to be increased. As such, future reforms must improve trade and economic integration, mobility and address regional conflicts.

Regional cooperation processes

Strengthening the regional dimension of the ENP is carried out as part of existing processes.

Through the Euro-Mediterranean partnership, “Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean” launched on 13 July 2008 in Paris, a regional dialogue has been undertaken regarding:

  • political cooperation, security and defence;
  • democracy and the role of civil society;
  • economics and financial cooperation, particularly regarding the creation of a free trade area;
  • the environment, energy, services and the right of establishment;
  • social, human and cultural cooperation, particularly regarding education, the information society and similar issues.

The EU-Africa strategic partnership and its first Action Plan are an essential contribution to the sectoral dialogue and deepening of relations with African partners.

The Black Sea Synergy complements multilaterally the existing relations with the Russian Federation, Turkey and the Eastern ENP partners (except Belarus). A report on the first year of the implementation of the Black Sea Synergy was adopted in June 2008.

Next phase

The second generation ENP Action Plans, which will be better adapted to the objectives and capacities of each of the partners, should lead progressively towards regulatory convergence with European standards.

Increased visibility of the reforms and raising citizens’ awareness of the measures taken will also contribute to the success of the cooperation.


Since its implementation began, the ENP has contributed to the prosperity, stability and security of the EU’s borders. The success of this policy demonstrates the benefits of adapting cooperation to the different needs of partner countries.