Organiser: Africa Governance Institute
2014 will become a crucial year for Europe’s relations with the African continent and a lot of hopes are placed on the forthcoming EU-Africa summit in April.
Besides of a review of the Joint Africa EU Strategy (JAES) and its achievements, the summit will also look into the evolving context of the partnership between Europe and Africa, its strategic interests and new geo-strategic dynamics.
Preparations and consultations ahead of the summit have taken new momentum in recent months and in all preparative talks it became evident that the contentious issue of the European Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with African countries and Regional Economic Communities (REC) need to be addressed and negotiations have to be brought from a technical to a political level.
When debating the future design and priorities of the JAES both sides have emphasised so far that human rights and governance constitute a crucial element in cooperation and are central to the partnership. However, diverging views exist between both partners about the way democratic governance should be promoted support. Calls have been made for mutual accountability and co-responsibility in order to strike a balance between externally imposed requirements (conditionality) and internally driven agendas for change.
Although the agenda of the EU-Africa summit will be far more comprehensive and will also address crucial issues such as conflict and peace building and an enhanced EU-Africa partnership in order to address global challenges, the Expert Roundtable will particularly focus on two issues:
a) the viability of EPAs in the face of the October 2014 deadline and its impact on regional integration and the EU-Africa partnership;
b) a partnership on Human Rights and Governance which moves beyond issues of cultural goods, anti-corruption and natural resource management and allows for a more comprehensive approach of democratic governance.