Questioning old certainties: Challenges for Africa-EU relations in 2012

ECDPM ECDPM’s annual Challenges Paper seeks to identify important debates that can be expected in 2012 and beyond and to sketch the backdrop against which these will unfold. Questioning Old Certainties highlights key issues and forums to watch in 2012. After a brief description of the context, it sketches the scene through three lenses in turn.

The first lens is the Lisbon Treaty’s emphasis on values in EU external action. Human rights, democracy and the rule of law are examples of the values being spoken of here. The second lens is that of changes in Africa and what this is likely to mean for Africa’s relations with its northern neighbour. The third lens is Europe’s newfound boldness in advancing its own interests in its external action and how this might affect EU relations with Africa. In this regard, a question repeatedly asked is whether the overall goal of advancing Europe’s interests is reconcilable with the values that the EU is committed to pursue. While some old certainties will end, others need to be reaffirmed.

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