EU-Africa’s Summit plans left in tatters

New Europe The build-up to the 29-30 November Africa-EU summit in Libya often felt like two continents perfecting their best laid plans. In the end, constant deviation from the script highlights why Europe-Africa relations require smaller, firmer steps rather than big, oversized strategic ambitions. President Mbeki – chairing the African Union (AU) High Level Implementation Panel for Sudan – provoked European angst when he left it till summit eve to insist on participation of Sudan’s indicted President Al Bashir. Not to be outshined, summit host, Muammar Khadafy, opened proceedings with his now-trademark rambling, lampooning European irresponsibility over illegal African immigration. The conference adopted a modest focus – investment, jobs creation and economic growth – but was dodged at every turn by assorted thorny issues, including Europe’s perceived economic bad-faith.

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