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EU drives new impetus for Europe-Africa partnership

04 May 2017, 17:23 CET
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EU drives new impetus for Europe-Africa partnership

Federica Mogherini - Photo EC

(BRUSSELS) - The European Commission and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini set out Thursday the EU's political priorities and concrete proposals for a stronger strategic partnership with Africa.

In a new Communication, the EU presented a 'revitalised framework for joint action', to build a stronger strategic partnership between Europe and Africa for more prosperity and stability in the two continents.

"A strong Africa matters to Europe," said Ms Mogherini: "Only by joining forces and working in partnership can we provide our youth with a more hopeful and peaceful future."

The EU is Africa's closest neighbour and main partner. Collectively, the EU is Africa's main foreign investor, main trading partner (offering free access to the EU market via Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA), Free Trade Agreements and the Everything But Arms initiative), a key security provider (through the African Peace Facility alone, the EU channelled funding amounting to over EUR 2 billion since 2004), and its first source of remittances and ODA (€21 billion 2015 EU collectively).

The Communication presents innovative proposals in a number of key areas – such as peace and security, migration, job creation or energy – based on priorities defined by African countries and stepping up the existing fruitful cooperation between the two continents. This comes ahead of the Africa-EU Summit in November this year, which will put a specific focus on youth.

Development Commissioner Neven Mimica said the Commission was proposing several ideas and concrete measures on how to translate priorities into action, with a view to fostering growth and creating jobs, especially for young people.

"We have a solid offer on the table and we now want to discuss it further with EU Member States and with African partners so that this offer materializes into something concrete and visible," he said. "More than ever citizens on both sides of the Mediterranean need to see that the Africa-Europe strategic partnership is a reality which goes beyond words."

The proposal identifies three objectives for building an EU-Africa alliance to address common global and regional challenges:

  • a stronger mutual engagement and increased cooperation bilaterally and in the international arena, based on common values and shared interests,
  • security, on land and on sea, and the fight against transnational threats
  • sustainable and inclusive economic development in Africa, in order to create the jobs that the continent needs.

Concrete actions are proposed around two mains strands.

The first one aims to achieve more resilient states and societies, through closer cooperation and action in order to prevent conflicts, improve conflict management; strengthen governance systems, and manage migration and mobility.

The second strand will aim to create more and better jobs, especially for youth. It develops concrete proposals for attracting responsible and sustainable investment, for example with the recently proposed External Investment Plan, which is expected to leverage up to €44 billion of private investment. Further proposals concern the cooperation in renewable energy, agriculture, agribusiness and the blue economy as well as advancement of knowledge and skills. For example, the Commission proposes to launch an African Youth Facility, which will expand the scope of Erasmus+, or to support digital innovation in Africa.

The Joint Communication will now be presented to the Council and the European Parliament.

Joint Communication to the European Parliament and the Council for a new impetus of the Africa-EU Partnership

Q&A on the Joint Communication to the European Parliament and the Council for a new impetus of the Africa-EU Partnership

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