EU-South Africa Summit

Council of the EU The European Union is committed to pursuing its engagement in South Africa and to strengthening its partnership with that country. The third EU-South Africa Summit, which will take place in Brussels on 28 September 2010, will be an excellent opportunity to demonstrate this engagement.

The EU will be represented by Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, and by José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission. The Republic of South Africa will be represented by President Jacob Zuma.

The parties are expected to discuss the following issues:

  • global issues, in particular global governance, development and climate change;
  • regional issues, notably the forthcoming EU-Africa summit;
  • and security and bilateral issues.

During the summit, both sides will proceed to the signature of an Education Agreement between the EU and South Africa.


South Africa, with approximately 50 million inhabitants, has the 25th largest population in the world, and occupies a position of geo-strategic importance in the Southern hemisphere. South Africa is the only African member of the G20 and the EU’s largest trading partner in Africa.

The EU-South Africa strategic partnership

A strong relationship has evolved between the European Union and South Africa since the birth of South African democracy in 1994.

This relationship is underpinned by the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) signed in 1999, which provides the legal basis for close relations on trade, development, economic cooperation and political dialogue.

The significance of South Africa for the EU was consolidated with the establishment of a Strategic Partnership in 2007. The Strategic Partnership has two main pillars: (i) enhanced political dialogue on issues of shared interest like climate change, the global economy, bilateral trade, and peace and security matters and (ii) policy dialogues and sectoral cooperation on a broad range of areas (e.g. environment, science & technology, transport, space, etc.).

The first EU-South Africa Summit was held during the EU French Presidency, in Bordeaux, on 25th July 2008. The second Summit took place during the Swedish EU Presidency, in Kleinmond, South Africa on 11 September 2009.

Recent meetings include the EU-South Africa Ministerial meeting, co-chaired by High Representative Catherine Ashton and Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs on 11 May 2010, and a visit of Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard to South Africa on 26-28 June

EU-South Africa Joint Cooperation Council

On 15 September 2010, the EU-South Africa Joint Cooperation Council (the body that oversees the overall implementation of the Trade and Development Cooperation Agreement – TDCA) met on 15 September in Pretoria. It had previously met in Brussels in July 2009, in order to take stock of progress in implementing the TDCA and also to discuss the way forward on the wide range of areas where policy dialogues and cooperation have been established in the context of the EU-South Africa Strategic Partnership.

Development cooperation

EU development co-operation with South Africa is financed from the EU budget (Development Cooperation Instrument). It has been operational since 1995, and since then yearly financial commitments have averaged €125 million.

For the financial perspectives 2007-2013, the indicative amount assigned by the EU to co-operation with South Africa is €980 million, i.e. €140 million a year.

The EU is the most important donor to South Africa by far: the Commission and EU Member States together provide approximately 70% of the total cooperation funds received by South Africa.

Trade cooperation

The EU as a whole is by far South Africa’s largest trading partner: it accounted for 28% of the value of total South African trade flows in 2009.

EU-South African trade flows represented more than €36 billion in 2008, and more than €25 billion in 2009 – the decrease being largely imputable to the global economic downturn.

The EU is South Africa’s main destination for exports, with a share of 23% of total South African exports in 2009. The EU is also the main source of South Africa’s imports, with a share of 32% of total South African imports in 2009.

Further information:

  • Read the Joint Communiqué issued today here.
  • Read the remarks by the President of the European Council at the press conference here.
  • Take a look at the Joint Action plan here.

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