Tomorrow, the African Union Commission and the European Commission will hold their annual College-to-College meeting in Brussels. This is the biggest EU-Africa event of the year. Discussions will focus on development, migration, peace, security and democracy, and other topics of mutual interest.
Ahead of the event, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “I am particularly pleased to welcome Chairperson Dr. Dlamini-Zuma and her colleagues to this first meeting with the Commission that took office in November. We will build on the good progress made at last year’s EU-Africa summit and ensure our partnership continues to deliver results. The summit will also be the opportunity to put a renewed focus on our cooperation in the field of migration at what is a particularly challenging time for all of us. In the context of the ongoing crisis in Libya and the dramatic situation in the Mediterranean, we have to enhance cooperation with North African and Sub Saharan African countries to build migration and border management capacities, with the support of international organizations already active on the ground."
The two Commissions work together as the engine of EU-Africa relations, collaborating in tackling challenges that the two continents are facing together. The topics of tomorrow's discussions will include:
- cooperation on the post 2015 agenda and climate change negotiations
- intensifying a joint approach in dealing with the challenges of migration
- promoting women's contribution to economic growth and employment
- supporting innovation, trade and investment, private sector, infrastructure and energy as engines of inclusive growth
- joining efforts for sustainable agriculture, food and nutrition security
- cooperating in tackling violent extremism in Somalia, in the Sahel and from Boko Haram in Nigeria and neighbouring countries
- promoting peaceful democratic change through elections and respect of constitutions
Ahead of the meeting of colleges, a programme for building disaster resilience in sub-Saharan Africa (€80 million) will also be launched, during a signing ceremony chaired by EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, with AU Commission Deputy Chairperson, Erastus Mwencha. The programme will put the AU Commission in the lead role for disaster risk reduction in the African continent.
The African Union (AU) Commission is chaired by Dr Dlamini-Zuma, who will attend this meeting together with seven AU Commissioners.
The annual College-to-College meetings are held to provide regular political guidance to the Africa-EU Partnership through political and policy dialogue, on an alternating basis in Brussels and Addis Ababa. The last meeting was held in April 2013 in Addis Ababa. No meeting took place in 2014 due to the organisation of the EU-Africa Summit in April 2014.
Africa-EU relations are framed by the Joint Africa-EU Strategy which was adopted at an EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon in 2007 and reaffirmed at last year’s Summit. A road map (2014-2017) implements the Strategy in five strategic areas for dialogue and cooperation: peace and security; democracy, good governance and human rights; human development; sustainable and inclusive development and growth and continental integration; global and emerging issues.
EU support to the AU institutions
The European Union collectively (EU and Member States) is the biggest contributor to the AU Commission, supporting more than 80% of its programme budget. The EU has been supporting continental integration efforts in Africa over the years. This includes an allocation of €1.6 billion for the African Peace Facility which is the main source that funds African peace and security efforts.
In addition, the European Commission launched the Pan-African instrument in 2014, the first ever EU programme in development and cooperation that covers Africa as a whole, which will also further increase our cooperation with the AU Commission. Amounting to a total of €845 million from 2014 to 2020, it will fund activities in a broad range of areas and offer new possibilities for the EU and Africa to work together. It will contribute, amongst others, to increased mobility on the African continent, better trade relations across regions and also better equip both continents for addressing trans-national and global challenges, such as migration and mobility, climate change or security.
For more information:
Website of the Africa-EU Partnership: http://www.africa-eu-partnership.org/