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IP/10/692

Brussels, 4 June 2010

Meeting between the European Commission and the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa

On 8 June the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso will lead a delegation of 10 Commissioners for a meeting in Addis Ababa with the Commission of the African Union. It will be an opportunity to enhance institutional cooperation between the two organizations and to give fresh impetus to the implementation of the Africa-EU Strategy and its 2008-2010 Action Plan. The two sides will also work on a forward looking agenda for the relations between the two continents in the run-up to the third Africa-EU Summit, which will adopt the next Action Plan for 2011-2013.

President Barroso said: “Our two Commissions meet at a time when we have all been hit by the world economic downturn. This situation has shown how intertwined is the future of all the regions in the world. More than ever we need a strengthened partnership between our two continents. The European Commission remains strongly committed to Africa's growth and development. We want to re-energise the global effort on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to give effective answers to the pressing challenges of food and water security, health and education. In this African Union’s year of peace and security, our focus must also remain on what we can do to back African resolve to deal with conflicts. Africa is a continent of huge potential that needs to be untapped and the European Commission stands ready to support its quest."

The European and African Union Commissions are the central actors and key “implementers” of the Africa-EU Strategic Partnership adopted at the Lisbon Summit in 2007. The meeting in Addis Ababa will allow a discussion on the preparation of the next Africa-EU Summit to be held in 29-30 November 2010. The themes for discussion at the 3rd Africa-EU Summit will include Peace and Security; the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); Climate Change and Energy; as well as Economic Growth and Africa's economic integration.

This is the 4th meeting of the colleges of the European Commission and the African Union Commission since 2005; the last meeting was held in Brussels in October 2008. New Members of the EU Commission will be able to meet with their African counterparts for the first time. A major addition to this 2010 edition is the participation of African Regional Economic Communities (RECs), as key building blocks of Africa's regional and continental integration.

The European Commissioners participating in the college-to-college meeting are: Antonio Tajani, Vice-President for Industry and Entrepreneurship; Maroš Šefčcovič, Vice-President for Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration; Janez Potočnik, Environment; Andris Piebalgs, Development; Karel De Gucht, Trade; Kristalina Georgieva, International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response; Günther Oettinger, Energy; Connie Hedegaard, Climate Action; Štefan Füle, Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy; and Dacian Cioloş, Agriculture and Rural Development.

Following the opening plenary session, they will have a chance to directly meet their colleagues of the African Union Commission to pursue substantive discussions on a wide range of issues concentrated around seven thematic clusters:

1. Administrative cooperation and institutional capacity-building

On this occasion a new Memorandum of Understanding on administrative cooperation will be signed between the two Commissions, with the European Commission supporting the creation of a Pan-African Personnel Selection and Training Office.

2. Political affairs, peace and security, governance and human rights, humanitarian affairs

Issues to de discussed in this cluster include the development of a comprehensive crisis response mechanism to ensure continuity between humanitarian crises and state-building; further co-operation on the implementation of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and co-operation on maritime security and safety.

3. Energy, environment and climate change

This cluster will offer an opportunity to address in particular the future of the energy sector in Africa the development of infrastructure and renewable energy sources; the preparation of the Cancún Conference on Climate Change; the fight against desertification focusing on the Great Green Wall of the Sahara/Sahel initiative, the protection of biodiversity, and sustainable consumption and protection as one of the instruments for increasing resource efficiency.

4. Social affairs, health, migration, employment, and education

The launch of a joint process leading to the establishment of an African Remittances Institute will be one of the main outcomes of the meeting. Following the meeting in Addis Ababa a workshop on employment and decent work will be organised on 30 June-2 July in Dakar, Senegal. The Commissions will also agree on their inputs into a joint EU-AU political statement for the UN High-Level Plenary Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals to be held in September in New-York.

5. Trade, regional integration, economic affairs and infrastructure

Regional integration is an essential vehicle for economic growth and this is as true in Europe, as it is in Africa. Regional integration is the first step in the integration into the global economy. Access to raw materials will also be discussed in this cluster. This access is indispensable for any economy. Being a resource-rich continent Africa is particularly well placed cater for this demand. Many African countries can now use the increasing demand for raw materials as an opportunity to achieve more sustainable growth and poverty alleviation. The EU wishes to intensify cooperation with Africa benefitting both sides, such as good governance, joint infrastructures and investments or capacity building in terms of geological sciences (including assistance from the European Investment Bank –EIB- or the World Bank).

6. Space

Africa can also benefit from the space applications that the EU is developing. It is therefore important to further integrate African requirements within the framework of GMES and Africa initiative (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security). This would entail the development of Earth Observation services in a wide range of application areas such as food security, management of water and natural resources, desertification, climate monitoring, conflict prevention and humanitarian aid, among others. Another priority is to define, develop and deploy satellite-based navigation services over the African continent.

7. Food security and safety

This will be an opportunity for the two Commissions to reiterate their commitment towards the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and the joint objective of food security and safety. One of the expected key results of this cluster include the signature of an agreement on closer co-operation on land issues, with an € 9 million programme under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) to implement the African Land Policy Guidelines.

Following the thematic meetings, José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission and Jean Ping, President of the African Union Commission, will hold a joint press conference and adopt a Joint Declaration.

Further information on the Africa-EU Partnership may be found at:

http://www.africa-eu-partnership.org/

MEMO/10/234


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