The European Union and the African Union have built a partnership that continues to grow stronger and deeper. This relationship is based upon these frameworks: the Joint Africa-EU Strategy and the Cotonou Agreement.
The implementation of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy follows a Roadmap (2014-2017) that divides it into five areas:
- Peace and security
- Democracy, good governance and human rights
- Human development
- Sustainable and inclusive development and growth and continental integration
- Global and emerging issues
Having multiple frameworks consequently could bring complications, such as overlapping decision-making processes, that could be an obstacle to the coordination between the AU and EU.
Like most inter-organizational cooperations, the AU-EU is a mutually beneficial relationship. Both organizations gain legitimacy from cooperating with the other.
One of the most visible ways of their cooperation is seen from EU’s large contributions to the AU. In fact, the EU is the largest donor to Africa. In 2015, their cooperation totaled up to €337 million. This cooperation includes peace and security operations, capacity building, and cooperation in different thematic areas.
Peace and Security is one of the most important areas of cooperation. Mogherini notes that for more than a decade “the European Union through the Africa Peace Facility has committed more than €1.7 billion to support the African Union’s peace support operations, the African peace and security architecture, African Union’s mediation efforts and to make sure that the early response mechanism becomes operational.”
On the issue of peace and security, the dialogue goes beyond the AU Commission and the European Commission. Other bodies, such as the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) and the EU Political and Security Committee have regular meetings to discuss issues in peace and security, including the implementation of African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA).
On April 7, 2016, the two organizations held their 8th annual College-to-College meeting in Addis Ababa. At this meeting Mogherini stressed that their “partnership is much more than an institutional, political or even economic relationship our citizens and if you ask me which is the strength, which is the power of Africa, some might say the resources, some might say the other things, I say the people and this is also our human capital in Europe that it is our strength”. Furthermore, preparations for the upcoming Africa-EU Summit in 2017 were discussed. These discussions centered on the five development areas of the 2014-2017 roadmap. During the meeting the two organizations reaffirmed their commitment to one another and to their joint-cooperation in developing democracy and peacekeeping.
Ingrid Silalahi, Paul Grossmann
Africa-eu-partnership.org. (2016). The Africa-EU Partnership: Peace and Security. [online] Available at: http://www.africa-eu-partnership.org/en/priority-areas/peace-and-security [Accessed 8 Apr. 2016].
Eeas.europa.eu. (2016). Europe and Africa ties stressed at EU-AU College meeting. [online] Available at: http://eeas.europa.eu/top_stories/2016/070416_eu-au-college-meeting_en.htm [Accessed 8 Apr. 2016].
European Commission, (2016). African Union Commission and European Commission meet to address shared EU-Africa challenges. [online] Available at: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-1226_en.htm [Accessed 8 Apr. 2016].
European Commission, (2016) Joint Communiqué between the African Union Commission and the European Commission at their 8th College to College Meeting [online] Available at: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_STATEMENT-16-1301_en.htm [Accessed 9 Apr. 2016]
ISS Africa. (2015). EU-AU relations: beyond institutional twinning. [online] Available at: https://www.issafrica.org/pscreport/on-the-agenda/eu-au-relations-beyond-institutional-twinning [Accessed 8 Apr. 2016].
New Europe. (2016). African Union Commission and European Commission meet to address shared EU-Africa challenges. [online] Available at: https://neurope.eu/press-release/african-union-commission-and-european-commission-meet-to-address-shared-eu-africa-challenges/ [Accessed 8 Apr. 2016].