The EU and the Horn of Africa: Migration in the middle

“[I]t is a partnership of equals, where both sides share opportunities and responsibilities. Africa will be a key partner in building the world we want to live in – whether on climate, digital or trade,” stated President of the European Commission Ursula Von der Leyen, during her speech at the State of The Union conference on Monday 16 September in front of the European Parliament. This is the guideline that the Commission means to take forward this year with regard to relations between the European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU).

Difficulties within the EU-Africa relationship

The recent developments between the EU and Turkey have highlighted how easily migration partnerships, or ‘deals’, can lead to breakdown which can have far-reaching consequences. The decision to extend the post-cotonou agreement to allow extra time for negotiations and the recent working paper released by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) show the difficulties – especially on the issue of migration – in the relationship between two other partners, namely the European Union (EU) and the African Union.

Relationship between EU and AU – less focus on migration and more on investment, trade and climate change

The President of the European Council and the Secretary-General of the United Nations attended the 33th African Union summit under the theme of ‘Silencing the guns’. European Council President Charles Michel went to the African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa to strengthen the relationship between the European Union and the African Union. During Michel’s speech at the official dinner of the AU Summit, he made clear that the relationship with the AU should focus less on migration. Moreover, Michel emphasized the importance of growing partnership between the EU and the AU, including investment, trade and climate change on the African continent.