Members' Research Service By / December 22, 2017

High-level conference: Towards a renewed partnership with Africa [Topical Digest]

For ten years, the African Union and the EU have shared a common strategy (JAES, Joint Africa-EU Strategy) on several global challenges, such as migration, security issues and climate change.

High-level conference: Towards a renewed partnership with AfricaFor ten years, the African Union and the EU have shared a common strategy (JAES, Joint Africa-EU Strategy) on several global challenges, such as migration, security issues and climate change. The times when EU-Africa relations were based on a donor’s agenda are over: Africa is also a world of opportunities the EU is keen not to miss – but not at the cost of forgetting the fight for democratic values. The European Parliament has organised a high level conference to promote its vision, one week before the 5th African Union-EU Summit, which takes place in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire) on 29-30 November 2017. The European Parliament champions this partnership and would like more ambitious goals to be adopted. A broad investment plan could help Africa and the EU develop closer cooperation in the areas of infrastructure, technology, resources… Promoting legal migration while better tackling the root causes of illegal migration should be shared priorities. This will be possible if a safe, conducive economic environment is created, and if African youth is given the opportunity to benefit from better education, lifelong training and possibilities for entrepreneurship. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the JAES, this selection of European Parliament research publications addresses some of the most pressing issues at stake between the two continents.

The 751 Members of the European Parliament represent EU citizens’ interests on an extremely wide range of, often complex, policy issues. To help them in their work, the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) provides independent, objective and authoritative analysis of and research on these issues. As Members’ time is very limited, and the amount of analysis available sometimes overwhelming, EPRS publishes short Topical Digests of published material whenever an issue arrives at the top of the policy agenda.
In 2017 this included providing digests to coincide with High-Level Conferences organised by Parliament’s President, Antonio Tajani (EPP, Italy), on topics such as EU relations with Africa, clean energy for Europe, and tourism. A digest of analytical material was also prepared for the European Week of Regions and Cities, as well as for the Social Summit in Gothenburg. Other major issues which warranted a digest of coverage during the year include developments in EU security and counter-terrorism policies and tax avoidance and tax evasion in the wake of the Paradise and Panama papers scandals. Digests were also prepared on EU development policy, and the EU’s relations with the Western Balkans. EU policy on sport, and the EU disability strategy complete this year’s collection of handy guides to EPRS publications – designed with Members of the European Parliament in mind, but available to everybody.


New priorities for EU–Africa cooperation
‘At a glance’ note by Ionel Zamfir, EPRS, November 2017 (also in French, Portuguese)
The EU and Africa are preparing to redefine their priorities for cooperation at a summit at the end of November bringing together the Heads of State or Government from the two sides. The focus this time will be on the need to invest in youth. The issue has become prominent against the background of demographic growth in Africa and increasing irregular migration from the continent to Europe.

The Joint Africa-EU Strategy
Study, Policy Department for External Relations, presented to the DEVE Committee on 20 November 2017
Ten years after its adoption and with a view to the next AU-EU Summit, being held in Abidjan on 29-30 November 2017, it is crucial to re-assess the strategy’s validity on the basis of achievements and shortfalls, including in its parliamentary dimension, with regard to the fulfilment of its objectives in an evolving context.

The Pan-African Parliament: Getting ready for the 2017 AU-EU Summit
Briefing by Valérie Ramet, Policy Department for External Relations, November 2017
The fifth EU-Africa Summit, which will be held in November 2017, will assess the implementation of the Joint Africa EU Strategy (JAES) roadmap for 2014-2017 and identify new priorities for the future The EP and the PAP enjoy a long-standing partnership and both have an important role to play in monitoring the JAES and its roadmap. Thematic priorities for the forthcoming summit include youth, peace and security and migration, which are now at the heart of the relationship between the two continents.

ACP-EU relations and the Joint Africa-EU Strategy
‘At a glance’ note by Eric Pichon, EPRS, November 2017
The Cotonou Agreement, a broad treaty binding the EU and 78 ACP countries, most of them sub-Saharan African countries, is set to expire in 2020. Since its inception in 2000 much has changed, new issues have emerged and need a broader approach. For the African states parties to the Cotonou Agreement, the Joint-Africa EU strategy might be an appropriate platform to reflect on their relations with the EU.

Further reading:

Relations beyond the neighbourhood: Africa, Fact Sheet by Valérie Ramet and Gonzalo Urbina Treviño, Policy Department for External Relations, 2017, all EU languages
A general survey of development policy, Fact Sheet by Valérie Ramet, Policy Department for External Relations, 2017, all EU languages
Humanitarian aid, Fact Sheet by Gonzalo Urbina Treviño, Policy Department for External Relations, 2017, all EU languages
How the EU budget is spent: Development Cooperation Instrument, Briefing by Matthew Parry, EPRS, October 2017.

Read this Topical digest on ‘High-level conference: Towards a renewed partnership with Africa‘ in PDF.

Peace and Security – Democracy, good governance and human rights

EU support to democracy and good governance in Africa
Briefing by Ionel Zamfir, November 2017, EPRS
Support to democracy and good governance is a central component of EU cooperation with and development aid to the African continent. Against the background of democratisation processes that are still fragile, but also of continuous popular support for democratic systems in Africa, EU support remains vital. Various mechanisms are at the EU’s disposal, although questions of their effectiveness remain as complicated as ever.

How the EU budget is spent: Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace
Briefing by Alina Dobreva with Philipp Wegner, EPRS, March 2017
The Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace was established in 2014 to support the European Union’s external policies. It contributes funding for crisis response, conflict prevention, peace-building and crisis preparedness, and to address global and trans regional threats. The instrument thus plays a role in both EU foreign and development policy.

Le Sahel: un enjeu stratégique pour l’Union européenne
Briefing by Eric Pichon, EPRS, November 2017, in French
The EU’s Strategy for security and development in the Sahel represented the first integrated approach aimed at refocusing the various programmes and external policy instruments on common objectives. The lessons learned led to the revision of this strategy in 2015. The revised strategy can thus serve as a model for broader European development and security policy, and help in the development of the joint African Union-EU strategy.

Further reading:

EU strategy in the Horn of Africa, ‘At a glance’ note by Eric Pichon, EPRS, December 2016.
The African Union: Defending peace, democracy and human rights, ‘At a glance’ note by Ionel Zamfir, EPRS November 2017.
Actions of the African Union against coups d’état, ‘At a glance’ note by Ionel Zamfir, November 2017.
Democracy in Africa: Power alternation and presidential term limits, Briefing by Ionel Zamfir, EPRS, April 2016.

Attracting investments for sustainable and inclusive development and growth

Understanding SDGs
‘At a glance’ note by Marta Latek, EPRS, November 2017
For two years now, the international community have engaged in unprecedented common action on a path defined in the comprehensive set of Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs). Taking into account the high ambition of the new agenda, it was crucial to start implementation as quickly as possible, and as coherently as possible at all levels.

European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD)
‘EU Legislation in progress’ Briefing by Marta Latek, EPRS, November 2017
The EFSD is part of the partnership framework for cooperation with countries with high irregular emigration, and is one of the pillars of the new external investment plan, inspired by the success of the investment plan for Europe. The new fund aims to mobilise EU grants to catalyse investment from public and private sources, to tackle the root causes of migration in the European neighbourhood and Africa, while helping to achieve the 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals.

Further reading:

Understanding ‘development effectiveness’: An overview of concepts, actors and tools, Briefing by Eric Pichon, EPRS, April 2017.
New European consensus on development: Will it be fit for purpose?, Briefing by Marta Latek, EPRS, April 2017.
Economic integration under the African Union, ‘At a glance’ note by Ionel Zamfir, EPRS, November 2017.
Africa’s economic growth: Taking off or slowing down?, In-depth analysis by Ionel Zamfir, EPRS, January 2016 [On the necessity of investments in Africa] (also in French and German).

Migration, Youth, and human development

Towards a Global Migration Compact: The human rights dimension
Briefing by Joanna Apap, EPRS, forthcoming, December 2017
One of the main outcomes of the UN General Assembly in 2016 was a declaration demanding greater international cooperation on managing migration, which was widely endorsed, including in the EU. Two global compacts are to be adopted in 2018, for refugees and for other migrants. At the very heart of the debate on opportunities and challenges of the debate on migration management is how to ensure that the different interests and needs are addressed within a strong human rights framework.

Refugee policies in Africa: Open borders but limited integration
Briefing by Ionel Zamfir, EPRS, September 2017
As Europe struggles with the migration crisis, the EU is trying to develop a new relationship with African countries, in order to try to curb the influx of people fleeing war, poverty or persecution, as well as to address the situation of refugees in Africa. Indeed, while some African countries are transit countries, Africa also hosts significant numbers of displaced people.

Reintegration of returning migrants
Briefing by Marta Latek, EPRS, October 2017
Returning more and more migrants with irregular status to their countries of origin has become a key European Union aim in efforts to reduce chaotic and dangerous migration flows. To make the return option more attractive for migrants with irregular status, the EU’s return policy promotes voluntary returns through reintegration assistance packages. Close cooperation with local partners is necessary to include reintegration assistance within existing development initiatives.

Empowering Africa’s youth: The new focus of EU-Africa cooperation
Briefing by Ionel Zamfir, EPRS, November 2017
Today, over 60 % of Africans are under the age of 25. One in four working age persons in the world by 2050 could be African. As the EU prepares to redefine its cooperation with Africa, the issue of youth is thus inescapable. The most urgent challenge for the EU is to channel foreign investment and development efforts towards Africa’s youngest populations, which most often are located in its most fragile states.

Further reading:

What has the European Union done in the field of migration since 2014?, Briefing by Daniela Adorna et al., Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs and Policy Department for External Relations, June 2017
Growing impact of EU migration policy on development cooperation, Briefing by Marta Latek, EPRS, November 2017
How the EU budget is spent: EU Aid Volunteers initiative, Briefing by Alina Dobreva, EPRS, December 2016.

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