EU-Africa relations have hardly followed a linear path, but the events of the past two years – namely, Covid-19 and the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine – seemingly put it under additional strain, allowing age-old grievances to come back in full force.
The EU-Africa partnership has ebbed and flowed over the years, with the period since 2020 being particularly dynamic. With the Covid-19 pandemic, the response to the war in Ukraine and the subsequent energy crisis in Europe, cleavages have been unearthed in the partnership.
This commentary provides an overview of key takeaways and the aspects to keep in mind for the way forward after the first European Humanitarian Forum which took place in March 2022.
The 6th EU-AU summit, held in Brussels on 17-18 February 2022, marked an important milestone
in the relationship between the European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU). After almost a
year and a half of delay, the summit provided leaders of both European and African countries
an opportunity to negotiate on a series of key topics that will shape the future of their relations.
Additionally, the summit provided a further opening for the regional bodies and their member
states to move away from an asymmetrical top-down relationship to a more vertical partnership
in which both sides negotiate deals based on sound analysis, trust and mutual respect.
European Think Tanks Group (ETTG), the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) joined forces to analyse divergences and seek consensus between the AU and the EU on key issues in the partnership. Drawing on roundtable discussions with experts from Africa and Europe, the group produced a series of policy briefs with proposals to strengthen the partnership between Africa and the EU on green transformation and climate change; economic development and trade; and participatory governance, peace and security. The briefs draw on contributions from more than 70 leading African and European independent experts, knowledge centres and think tanks that contributed reflections and suggested concrete policy recommendations.
This report is the outcome of a partnership initiative launched in 2021 by the European Think Tanks Group (ETTG) and
A joint press release about the recent cooperation with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and our Network on a series of high-level, closed doors virtual expert seminars for the AU-EU partnership.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected armed conflict and political violence within countries? Focusing on Africa, a continent with a
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 adoption of the EU’s Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027 will bring profound changes to the set-up of the EU’s instruments for crisis prevention, conflict management and peacebuilding in fragile and conflict-affected countries, which aim to improve the EU’s ability to engage in these contexts. However, reforming the EU’s financial instruments alone is not sufficient to address key underlying challenges. What is needed is an overarching strategic framework that puts policy coherence for sustainable peace at the centre of EU crisis prevention, conflict management and peacebuilding.