Sub-Saharan Africa is currently the poorest sub-continent. Most of its 48 countries have little prospect of achieving the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which would mean, for example, sharply reducing, by 2015, the share of the population living on less than a dollar a day, lacking access to basic education and health services or suffering from malnutrition. In addition, and related to the resilience of poverty, governance is still weak in many African countries, though a number of them have made progress in terms of democratisation. And many are plagued by serious problems of public security or even civil war.
Africa is also a continent neighbouring Europe. The crises there inevitably have repercussions for the European Union (EU). One clear sign of this is the large number of Africans who try to bypass EU immigration controls and to reach Europe, seeking a better life as well as ways to support their relatives at home. Moreover, weak and failing states, many of which are in Africa, have come to be regarded as endangering international security - for example because transnational criminal or terrorist networks might operate from them. Thus Africa, which has for the EU long been mainly a case for development engagement, is now receiving increasing attention from foreign and security policy.
But a consistent European strategy to address Africa‘s crises has been lacking. This is partly due to the fact that EU member countries are independent actors in important areas: The EU has only one common trade policy, but its development policy and the nascent Common Foreign and Security Policy are paralleled by corresponding national policies of member states, while immigration is chiefly a national responsibility. Also, policies of the European Commission in different areas may work at cross-purposes - for example agricultural subsidies, trade policy and development policy.
To remedy this, the European Commission, the Council and the Parliament in December 2005 signed a new common EU Africa Strategy. It is meant to be a guideline for all policies relevant to Africa of both the European Commission and the EU member states. While it centres on helping Africa achieve the MDGs, it puts considerable emphasis on peace and security as well as good governance. To what extent is this strategy a step forward, rather than a shopping list of already existing approaches? What are its strengths and weaknesses? Is the strategy likely really to make EU policies relating to Africa more coherent?
These were some of the questions dealt with at a conference organized by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, terre des homes and World Economy, Ecology & Development (WEED) in Berlin in April 2006. The statements made at this conference and the discussions conductedthere are presented in this publication. The annex documents the EU Africa Strategy of December 2005. With this publication we hope to contribute to a wider discussion on the future of Europe‘s relations with Africa.
- The EU Africa Strategy - A convincing response to the challenges in the partnership with Africa?
- Between prevention, sanction and intervention - Cooperation in security policy between EU and Africa
- Self-interest or fair partnership? Economic and trade relations between the EU and Africa
- Shielding the EU or overcoming root causes? EU Africa policy between migration and development
With contributions from Michael Brüntrup, Paul Goodison, Jeffrey Isima, Mehdi Lalou, Christian Manahl, Torsten Moritz, Siegmar Schmidt, Dietrich Thränhardt, Olive Towey and Alexis Valqui.
Die 74-seitige Dokumentation einer gemeinsamen Tagung von terre des hommes, Weed und der Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung kann hier online bestellt werden. Unten auch kostenlos als pdf downloadbar