Beyond business as usual: Igniting the AU-EU partnership on peace, security and governance – policy recommendations


The analysis presented suggests a number of policy recommendations for strengthening the AU-EU partnership on peace, security and governance in the run up to the EU-AU summit:


The EU should align its support to the AU, not sideline the AU. This means ensuring a systematic alignment of EU support mechanisms and ensuring that new instruments are not to the detriment of existing regional political AU structures. For its part, the AU needs to bridge the gap between centre and periphery, between Addis Ababa and the RECs as well as the national level. Actions and policies need to be informed by dynamics on the ground, avoiding a “building from the roof” approach through regular conflict analysis and consultation with diverse stakeholders.


The AU should negotiate for and claim an oversight role in the EPF, such as a seat on the oversight and monitoring structure of the EPF, like the EU used to have a seat on the Board of the AU Peace Fund.


The EU should conduct regular monitoring and analysis of possible negative effects of the new EPF in terms of militarisation of conflict response, indirect participation in political systems and conflicts of partners, and sidelining of the APSA in favour of ad hoc coalitions. Clear EPF principles and mechanisms need to be defined, as well as oversight and reporting mechanisms to establish accountability. Finally, transparency is needed in divisions of labour and communications on the whole process and decisions.


AU member states should speed up their efforts to increase their financing of AU institutions. Predictable and sustainable funds for the AU will reduce conditionality and dependence on the EU and other donors.


Despite an apparent “governance fatigue” in the AUEU relationship, long-term governance agendas and strategies should remain central in the partnership. To be effective, unilateral conditionalities and double standards have to be avoided, and more reciprocity and mutual approaches instituted to tackle common challenges. To promote effective reforms, African peer pressure mechanisms can be strengthened, as well as locally embedded initiatives like the People’s Coalition for the Sahel. Such initiatives strengthen domestic accountability instead of externally driven donor accountability. More resources should be invested to understand and promote the role played by civil societies, including youth, diaspora, women and private sectors.