The European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU) maintain a long-standing partnership on peace and security which can be qualified as constructive. It is largely based on joint interests and objectives and is less contentious compared to other more challenging topics, such as migration and trade. The EU’s new seven-year budget for 2021 – 2027 introduces new ways of working which impact on how the EU will engage on peace and security in Africa. Most notable in this regard is the establishment of the European Peace Facility (EPF) which can potentially undermine the AU’s role in leading and coordinating peace and security measures on the continent. Moreover, these new developments take place against the backdrop of an overall troubled EU-AU relationship which suffers not only from the divergences in interests in key areas such as migration, trade and climate but also from the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, and global geopolitics.
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the current state and prospects of partnership between the East African countries and the European Union on migration and forced displacement. The pandemic has exacerbated the root causes of migration and forced displacement. Read here about the implications and the steps should taken to move forward.
The Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) represents a fundamental reform for the European Union (EU)’s development policy, its neighbourhood policy and its external action more broadly. The new instrument will be implemented in a rapidly changing geopolitical context and will have to respond to unprecedented challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The European Commission DG NEAR and the office of the High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy released a new policy statement (‘Communication’) ‘Renewed Partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood: A New Agenda for the Mediterranean’ on 9 February 2021. The Communication was accompanied by a staff working document ‘Renewed Partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood Economic and Investment Plan for the Southern Neighbours’. The priorities outlined in the Communication and the investment Plan are to be concretised during 2021 as the new ‘Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI), which will finance the EU’s international cooperation, is programmed during 2021.
The pandemic not only acts as a multiplier of existing developmental and socioeconomic challenges in Africa – and thereby contributes to increasing
migratory pressure in and out of the continent – but it also reveals interdependencies between Africa and the EU. It is hoped that the current health and socioeconomic crisis would also act as an opportunity to substantially rethink the relations between the two continents on, and well beyond migration.
As European Think Tanks we proposed the conference event because we would like to encourage discussions around the importance of aligning both policies and finance with the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs to chart a course towards inclusive, equitable and low carbon development.
The study looks at the challenges facing industrialisation in African countries, in particular the issues for the policy framework needed to support it. It identifies three positive issues that have appeared during the Covid-19 crisis which will be important in economic recovery efforts: (1) repurposing, accelerated pharma production and joint procurement; (2) increased attention to agro-processing; and (3) use of technological advances.
The consequences of COVID-19 will shape European policies and politics for years to come. Europe is lacking behind particularly on the SDGs related to agriculture, climate change and biodiversity and in strengthening convergence of living standards across EU member states. The pandemic has made these SDGs even more difficult to achieve by 2030, and could derail progress on other SDGs as well.
2020 was dominated by a collective global crisis on an unprecedented scale, the impact of which was felt differently around the globe and in parts of society. And the Covid-19 pandemic will continue to cast its shadow this year. The fight against Covid-19 and the recovery in the economy and society are coming at the same time as several major events in international environmental and climate policy.
The development-security nexus has become a central concept for the European Union (EU) and other international actors. Key EU documents recognise the importance of the link between these two main domains of EU external affairs. This is part of a wider framework of the so-called triple nexus between humanitarian aid, development and security, which the European Commission aims to enhance to better respond to protracted crises.