The EU’s relationship with Africa is a key priority for the new Commission. The new COVID reality makes this relationship all the more important.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the growing urgency of the climate crisis show at the same time how interdependent our two continents are, and why it is so important that both continents act urgently to seize the shared opportunities that lie ahead and to tackle the common challenges that we all face. This pandemic knows no borders and, as it has demonstrated, a global response and an ability to act as an international community are essential.
What is the EU proposing?
The European Commission’s and the European External Action Service's vision of the future EU-Africa partnership proposes to work together on five key global trends.
- A Partnership for the Green Transition and Energy Access
- A Partnership for Digital Transformation
- A Partnership for Sustainable Growth and Jobs
- A Partnership for Peace, Security and Governance
- A Partnership on Migration and Mobility
The Commission and EEAS’ proposals set out practical ways to work together to implement the partnership.
Today’s Strategy with Africa is the roadmap to move forward and bring our partnership to the next level. Africa is the European Union’s natural partner and neighbour. Together we can build a more prosperous, more peaceful and more sustainable future for all.- Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission (9 March 2020)
These proposals build on a growing momentum in EU-Africa relations. Deepening cooperation based around shared interests and values will enable both sides to achieve their common goals and to tackle global challenges.
The proposals set out not only the opportunities and challenges faced within each of these fields, but also 10 clear action points as a basis for future cooperation.
What is happening now?
The European Commission and the EEAS are now in the process of engaging constructively with a wide range of stakeholders from across both Africa and Europe to hear their views and feedback on the proposals. There is an ongoing dialogue with EU member states, African partners, as well as the private sector, civil society and think thanks.
Although the COVID-19 crisis has limited the possibilities for face-to-face interaction, creative solutions have been found to ensure this important outreach can take place.
On 30 June 2020, Jutta Urpilainen, Commissioner for International Partnerships, took part in an online outreach event on ‘The Next Generation of Africa Europe Relations’. This event involved a broad exchange around the key themes of the elements for an Africa-EU strategy and has been an opportunity for young people and civil society to share their vision for and comments on the partnership.
What are the next steps?
The EU-African Union Summit in Autumn 2020 will be the culminating moment when African and European Heads of State and Government meet to determine joint priorities for their common future.
In the run up to the Summit, dialogues, consultations and feedback from African and European stakeholders will help refine the way forward.
The event on the 30th June has been one example of gathering input from citizens and the first of a series of dialogues on the key themes of the Africa-EU Partnership and the proposals set out above.