Continental Drift or Widening Cracks? The EU and Africa since the Lisbon Summit of 2007

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    This article, by providing an overall assessment of the relations between Africa and the EU since the adoption of the Joint Africa Europe Strategy in Lisbon in 2007, tests the hypothesis of a ‘continental drift’. It looks in particular at four key variables in the relationship: economy, development, governance and politics, and multilateralism. A continental drift is in the making, associated with widening cracks in economic blocks: most of the trade between the two continents is concentrated on a dozen countries on each side. Although the EU has lost some of its leadership in development policies, its funding capacities are still attractive for countries in need: the donor–recipient relation is largely maintained. Both sides have agreed to disagree or to remain quiet about their reciprocal political inconsistencies: the management of governance and political dialogue is thus carried out in a pragmatic manner. The continent-to-continent relationship remains largely a vision.

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