EU and African Union: building a future-proof partnership

The European Union started this week with a Foreign Affairs Council centred on the relations between the EU and Africa.  More specifically, the 28 EU foreign affairs ministers discussed the relations with the African Union and the future of this partnership, as well as the core issues on which this cooperation will focus.

The new Chairperson of the African Union Commission, former  Chadian Prime Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat, was present and highlighted the importance of the EU as a partner for the African Union. He also express the AU willingness to renew and the strengthen this partnership.

Chief of the Foreign Affairs Council, High Representative Federica Mogherini, stated in a joint press conference that the aim was to move the partnership from an aid-centered approach towards a partnership based on development, whose objectives are among others tackling humanitarian crises, climate change and migration. As Mogherini stated, the African population is the youngest in the world on average, with a growing population. The renewed partnership’s interest is to create the right environment for young citizens through the creation of employment and opportunities.

Youth is also a the central theme of the preparation of the next EU-Africa Summit, which will take place coming November in the Ivory Coast.  At the same time, creating better opportunities for young people and trying to benefit from the impressive demographic growth of the African continent fits within the holistic approach to migration that the AU Chairperson was suggesting during the press conference.

Another issue dealt with in the Foreign Affairs Council meeting was addressing the security and the stability of the African continent. Major importance was given to the Horn of Africa area. In fact, the 28 member states of the EU are determined to assume a more prominent role, for example in dealing with the long lasting protests in Ethiopia and the border conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea, Mogherini declared. In addition, she expressed the EU’s interest in finding a response to the need of the the Horn of Africa region to build a regional security architecture. Due to the strategic position of the region, according to the High Representative, this will be beneficial for the entire continent and many other countries.