The international context and EU-Africa relations are constantly evolving, presenting new challenges and opportunities. Since the historic first Africa-EU Summit in Cairo in 2000, where the Africa-EU partnership framework was established, considerable change has taken place on both continents, which challenge the way Africa and Europe perceive each other.
The Africa-EU Partnership is adapting to these changing realities through constant formal dialogue between African and European counterparts at different levels:
- EU-Africa Summits of Heads of States and Governments take place every three years alternatively in Africa and Europe. These Summits take stock of the progress made in the implementation of commitments made and provide political guidance for further work.
The fourth and most recent EU-Africa Summit took place in Brussels on 2-3 April 2014 to discuss the future relationship between the EU and Africa relations and to foster the cooperation under the theme of “Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace”. Topics included education and training, women and youth, legal and illegal migrant flows between both continents, ways to stimulate growth and create jobs, investing in peace and ways to enhance EU support for African capacities to manage security on the continent. The fifth Summit is scheduled to take place in 2017.
- Ministerial meetings take place on an ad hoc basis to monitor the progress achieved between Summits. The last meeting took place at the margins of the EU-Africa Summit in April 2014 on climate change.
- College-to-College meetings between the European Commission and the African Union Commission take place on an annual basis alternatively in Brussels and Addis Ababa to provide political and operational impetus to Africa-EU relations. The last meeting took place in 2013 in Addis Ababa and the next meeting is scheduled for April 2015 in Brussels.
- The Joint Annual Forum (formerly 'Joint Task Force' meetings) covering all areas of cooperation within the framework of the Joint Strategy, gather sectoral experts from member states, institutions, civil society organisations and other relevant stakeholders once a year to assess progress made with regard to the implementation of the JAES.
- Regular High Level dialogues and expert level meetings ensure the implementation of the Road Map, such as the reference group on Infrastructure, or the EU-Africa High Level Policy Dialogue (HLPD) expert group on science, technology and innovation.
In addition, continuous dialogue is maintained by other stakeholders of the Africa-EU Partnership, such as:
- EU-Africa Business Forums bring together African and European business leader representing multi-nationals, large corporations, small and medium-scale enterprises and confederations, multilateral and regional institutions to discuss ways of improving the business and investment climate between Africa and the EU.
- Africa-EU Civil Society Forum gather together representatives from African and European civil society organisations to develop ideas to review the implementation of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy, to ensure full participation of civil society in the EU-Africa Partnership, to evaluate past experiences and discuss the future of the partnership.
- Africa-Europe Youth leaders’ Summits ensure the continuous dialogue between African and European youth organizations. They provide the opportunity to formulate concrete recommendations to EU-Africa Summits regarding the future JAES youth initiatives and engagement of the youth in the future political dialogue. In 2012, the Africa-Europe Youth Platform has been established to coordinate, monitor and follow-up the Africa-Europe Youth cooperation, on an annual basis.
- Meetings between the European Parliament and Pan-African Parliament
- Meetings of EU and Africa economic and social stakeholders network