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IP/07/1873

Brussels, 6 December 2007

Appointment of Koen Vervaeke as EU Special Representative to the African Union and Head of the Commission Delegation

Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), and Louis Michel, European Commissioner for relations with Africa, Caribbean and Pacific, and for Development and Humanitarian aid welcomed the decision by the Council and the Commission to appoint Koen Vervaeke as both the European Union's Special Representative and Head of the European Commission delegation to the African Union.

"We are very pleased that the Council and the Commission have decided, on the basis of our recommendation, to appoint Koen Vervaeke as EU Special Representative and Head of the European Commission delegation to the African Union. This appointment reflects the closer ties between the European Union and Africa enshrined in the new partnership to be launched at the EU-Africa Summit this weekend.

Africa is a strategic continental player and a vital international partner of the European Union. The African Union is a political organisation with an important role to play in ensuring stability and development in Africa. Our common agenda, as reflected in the Joint Strategy and Action Plan to be endorsed in Lisbon, is global and far-reaching, covering eight partnerships, ranging from peace and security to governance and human rights, development commerce, migration, energy, climate change, and science and technology.

The joint appointment of Mr Vervaeke is a reflection of our common will to combine all the instruments of the European Union and thereby ensure a coherent approach towards Africa at all levels."

Background

Mr Vervaeke's mandate as EUSR and Head of the European Commission's delegation to the AU is to further the EU's policy aims in Africa, as part of the new EU-Africa Strategic Partnership to be adopted at the EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon on 8 and 9 December. The appointment of a European Union Special Representative to the AU, serving at the same time as Head of the European Commission's delegation, based in Addis Ababa, will give the EU an enhanced and permanent presence vis-à-vis the African Union.

Mr Vervaeke's appointment takes effect on 6 December 2007. He was born in 1959 and is a Belgian diplomat. He has served in the Belgian Embassies in Tunis and Bujumbura, at the Belgian Permanent Representatation to the UN in Geneva, as the Belgian Foreign Ministry Spokesman during Belgium's EU Presidency and as Belgium's Special Envoy to the African Great Lakes Region. Since September 2003, he has been advisor to Javier Solana on African affairs and Head of the Africa Unit in the Council's General Secretariat.

NB: The Joint Action appointing Mr Vervaeke as EUSR was adopted by the Council on Thursday, 6 December (document 13814/07). His appointment as Head of the Commission Delegation to the AU was adopted by the Commission on Wednesday, 5 December.

[ Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED ]


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