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Briefing Notes (series)

AU-EU cooperation on climate and energy: In search of a common narrative


Alfonso Medinilla, ECDPM brief, May 2021

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Climate has been on the agenda of the AU-EU partnership from the start, yet while both the EU and Africa have a strong stake in accelerating climate change mitigation, a clear common agenda has remained elusive, largely due to the historical climate injustice between the two continents.

This note takes a closer look at the engagement between the EU and the AU on climate, the environment and green transition, as well as the interests and incentives that underpin ongoing cooperation. While Europe and Africa have different climate needs and interests, some of the building blocks of a joint AU-EU agenda are starting to appear. These notably include common interests in renewable energy expansion and an ambitious global green recovery narrative. At the same time, a number of critical challenges remain, including perceptions of potential negative economic consequences of the EU’s internal transition.

AU-EU cooperation on climate and energy cannot be isolated from the wider global health crisis and the post-COVID economic recovery. Achieving an ambitious AU-EU alliance on climate and green transition will to a large extent depend on the ability of Europe and other powers to ensure an equitable and sustainable global recovery in the short term.

This note is one of a three-part series produced in collaboration with the Open Society European Policy Institute. The series unpacks the evolving EU financial and policy framework for addressing climate and green transition in its external relations, focusing specifically on the (in)direct external effects of the European Green Deal, EU climate finance and international cooperation and the role of climate in the EU-Africa partnership.

Others notes in the series:

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Photo courtesy of Dana Smillie / World Bank via Flickr.

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European external affairsBriefing Notes (series)Climate change