Africa-EU Ministerial Meetings

The Africa-EU Ministerial Troikas are held twice a year, either in Europe or in Africa. The first Ministerial Troika held in Brussels in September 2008 was intended to inform the competent bodies about the progress made thus far and to enable ministers to assume their overall political responsibility for the partnership. A report of the meeting was published on the progress made by both parties, setting out each actor’s responsibilities and duties for the future. Common challenges were identified, in particular in relation to the involvement of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), the European Parliament (EP), the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), CSOs and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs). Both parties urged the EP and the PAP to establish mechanisms for closer cooperation. The CSOs were invited to extend the analytical work under the Europe Africa Policy Research Network (EARN) initiative and the mapping of European and African civil-society networks that can contribute to the implementation of the JAES.

The second Troika, held in Addis Ababa on 20-21 November 2008, discussed the progress reports submitted by the JEGs for all the partnerships and welcomed the efforts to strengthen the dialogue between the two partners. It stressed the need for adequate funding in order to guarantee effective implementation. All parties were asked to allocate the necessary funds to the implementation process. However, no concrete proposals were made as to where the funding should come from. The November 2008 Troika seems to have produced far more results than the first Troika meeting of the year: the JEG meetings prior to the Troika certainly improved the level of debate and the overall atmosphere, and enhanced the political dialogue between the two partners. The Europeans and Africans were better prepared and discussions were more open and frank than before. For this reason, it was decided that the JEG meetings should be held on a regular basis before each Troika. Moreover, for the first time, the debate went ‘beyond Africa’ by covering the financial crisis, universal jurisdiction and the crisis in Georgia.

The next EU-Africa Ministerial Troika took place in Luxembourg on the 28 April 2009. It involved a comprehensive mid-term review of the progress made since the Lisbon Summit and decisions on action to remedy any shortfalls. Key issues discussed were: the current global challenges such as the economic and financial crisis and climate change. The need for Africa and EU to make use of the Joint Strategy to further enhance the political dialogue on common interests and possible measures to overcome the financial and economic crisis was stressed. Also, the ministers agreed that Africa’s and the EU’s common vision regarding the climate change agenda should be pursued in the framework of the Joint Strategy and the Joint Declaration on Climate Change adopted in Addis Ababa on 1 December 2008. As regards the implementation of the Joint Strategy/ First Action Plan, both sides were encouraged to work together on burning issues such as Peace and Security, Climate Change, Energy access and Energy security. Parliaments and non-State actors, in particular the civil society and the private sector, were encouraged to participate actively in the Lisbon agenda. Ministers agreed to undertake a comprehensive mid-term review of the Joint Strategy and the Action Plan at their next meeting in Autumn 2009. Other issues addressed were recent developments such as peace and security issues in Europe (Balkans) and Africa (Sudan, Madagascar, Guinea, etc), the African integration process and legal issues such as the report of the independent technical expert group to clarify the respective understandings on the principle of universal jurisdiction as requested by the Ministerial Troika in November 2008.

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