EU foreign ministers met with their African counterparts in Luxembourg to express their commitment to boost their mutual cooperation in preparation for an “ambitious and successful” EU-Africa summit in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on 29 and 30 November this year. Ministers devoted most of their time together to discuss migration and related policies meant at building more resilient states and societies in sub-Saharan Africa as well as creating job opportunities and alternatives to migration of jobs in smuggling.
According to a statement in the “Africa-EU Partnership: A Renewed Impetus”, it is in the EU’s strategic interest to deepen and adapt its long-standing partnership with Africa given the constantly changing nature of the global dynamics. A stronger political relationship is envisaged and strategic objectives are being turned into actions, taking into account Africa’s vision and priorities.
The conclusions that both sides adopted during their meeting emphasize the importance of Africa’s main partner in the fields of foreign investment, trade, place of origin for remittances, development and humanitarian assistance as well as defense and security. The general view is such that a cooperation framework encompassing a range of areas is the best way to manage migration and prevent radicalization. Leaders said that they were supportive of the initial proposals for actions focused on “more and better jobs, especially for youth”.
Gianni Pittella, leader of the European Parliament’s S&D group, said that the document demonstrated the EU’s strategic interest in Africa but added that “a more constructive approach is needed based on a long-term strategy. A new partnership means that Europeans shift their focus to development through investments, democracy, good governance, and education, whilst Africans also have their share of responsibility. To this end, the implementation of a long-term EU development plan for Africa is essential”.