On 15 October, the first day of the European Council, ECDPM director Carl Michiels wrote a memo addressed to Council president Charles Michel – published by EUobserver. The Council president has responded to the memo, which argued that it would be a big mistake to only have a superficial discussion on EU-Africa relations.
27 October 2020
Dear mister Michiels,
Thank you for your memo on the EU-Africa relations and your useful thoughts on the preparations for the upcoming EU-AU Summit.
I put this item on the agenda of the last European Council because we need to step up efforts to identify key priorities and joint deliverables in view of the next EU-AU Summit. We have made it clear we want to strengthen our partnership. Our commitment and narrative is unequivocal; but now is the time to be concrete.
In this vein, the EUCO highlighted the EU’s readiness to extend its partnership with Africa on its economic transformation, in parallel to the EU’s one on digital and green transition, by boosting investment and working together on a comprehensive multi-sector, multi-level and multi-stakeholder investment programme. Digital and knowledge economy, renewable energy, transport, health, and agri-food systems are sectors that we see as being key for sustainable growth, job creation and further economic opportunities.
This will be part of the upcoming political discussions with our African partners. Because this is a priority for us, and despite the fact that we had to postpone the EU-AU Summit to 2021, I will host a EU-AU Leaders Meeting in December, allowing to advance our work in these areas, as well as in other crucial aspects of our comprehensive partnership. This will also be an opportunity to discuss our cooperation with Africa in our common fight against Covid-19, both in the short term and in terms of medium and long-term recovery. I see two particularly important additional elements in this context: vaccines – which need to be common global public goods – and debt relief – where efforts from the international community have to be stepped-up.
I very much value receiving input that nurtures our continued reflections on matters of crucial importance for the EU. I therefore encourage you to continue sharing your analysis in this context.
President of the European Council
Photo courtesy of European Union via Council of the European Union – Newsroom.