Since the historic first Africa-EU Summit in Cairo in 2000, where EU-Africa partnership was strengthened through the institutionalisation of dialogue, considerable change has taken place on both continents. Democratisation and reform processes have been launched and are being deepened in both Africa and Europe and efforts have continued on both continents to address conflict and crisis situations.
Two years after the adoption of the European Union (EU) Strategy for Africa in 2005, the EU and Africa are redefining their partnership in the light of the profound transformations they have experienced in recent years. It was then time to move on from a strategy for Africa to a strategic partnership with Africa.
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
The European Union has a proud tradition of supporting countries in transition from autocratic regimes to democracy.
Africa and Europe are bound together by history, culture, geography, a common future, as well as by a community of values: the respect for human rights, freedom, equality, solidarity, justice, the rule of law and democracy as enshrined in the relevant international agreements and in the constitutive texts of respective Unions.
The Lisbon Summit, (8-9 December, 2007) bringing together the European Union and Africa, has offered a unique opportunity jointly to address the common contemporary challenges for both continents, in the year that we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the European integration and the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the independence of Africa.
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.
The 4th EU-Africa Summit will take place in Brussels on 2-3 April 2014. It will bring together African and EU leaders, as well as the leaders of EU and African Union institutions. Under the theme “Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace”.
The four main objectives of EU-Africa strategic partnership are:
- To reinforce and elevate the Africa-EU political partnership to address issues of common concern. This includes strengthening of institutional ties and addressing common challenges, in particular peace and security, migration and development, and a clean environment. To this end, both sides will treat Africa as one and upgrade the Africa-EU political dialogue to enable a strong and sustainable continent-to-continent partnership, with the AU and the EU at the centre.
- To strengthen and promote peace, security, democratic governance and human rights, fundamental freedoms, gender equality, sustainable economic development, including industrialisation, and regional and continental integration in Africa, and to ensure that all the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are met in all African countries by the year of 2015.
- To jointly promote and sustain a system of effective multilateralism, with strong, representative and legitimate institutions, and the reform of the United Nations (UN) system and of other key international institutions, and to address global challenges and common concerns, such as human rights, including children’s rights and gender equality, fair trade, migration, HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other pandemics, climate change, energy security and sustainability, terrorism, the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and the illicit trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons, and knowledge-based society issues such as ICT, science, technology and innovation.
- To facilitate and promote a broad-based and wide-ranging people-centred partnership, and create conditions in development, democracy building, conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction processes, and make this Joint Strategy a permanent platform for information, participation and mobilisation of a broad spectrum of civil society actors in the EU, Africa and beyond. Joint Strategy a permanent platform for information, participation and mobilisation of a broad spectrum of civil society actors in the EU, Africa and beyond. Ongoing dialogue with civil society, the private sector and local stakeholders on issues covered by this Joint Strategy will be a key component to ensure its implementation.
Europe and Africa are connected by strong trade links, making the EU the biggest export market for African products. For example, approximately 85% of Africa’s exports of cotton, fruit and vegetables are imported by the EU.
Europe and Africa are also bound by substantial and predictable aid flows. Moreover, some EU Member States retain longstanding political, economic and cultural links with different African countries and regions, while others are relative newcomers to African politics and development.
This Joint Strategy, provide an overarching long-term framework to take the Africa-EU relationship to a new, strategic level with a strengthened political partnership and enhanced cooperation at all levels.