EU-Africa Summit

Could concrete results be achieved?

The two-days summit between the European Union and the African Union took place in November in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and was already the fifth EU-Africa Summit. 28 Chancellors, Ministers and representatives from the European states and 55 representatives of the African states took part. The final declaration of the 83 high representatives comprised a list of 79 different plans and measures. However, despite of the extensive and difficult negotiations during the summit, the agreed measures are very general and not precise over all.

The most sensitive and as well most comprehensive part of the EU-Africa Summit was the topic of migration. The representatives agreed, that there shall be an enhanced cooperation in the areas of migration, improvement of the security situation and investments in education and sustainable growth, however, no concrete results could be achieved. The European Union is very clear in its attempt to reduce migration from Africa into the EU. For the African states it is far less important to reduce migration. First, many African countries are economically dependent on their migrants living in Europe to send money back home to their relatives, and second, the African citizens want to enjoy the same freedom of travel as their European neighbours. Europe thus plans to increase the economic growth in Africa to create more and better jobs for the people. Then, according to the EU’s plan, the African citizens would not feel the need to move to Europe to earn money. However, there have been many foreign initiatives like this in the past, which tried to bring wealth to Africa, and most of them failed. It is thus questionable if a new European initiative can succeed this time. Despite of the migration topic, there have been some more discrepancies between the EU and Africa. Whereas the European states were reluctant to make a financial commitment regarding the EU-Trust Fund for Africa, the Africans were not ready to discuss the topics democracy and human rights in detail.

It can be seen as a very positive sign for the relevance of the EU-Africa Summit that many very high-ranking participants took part. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel travelled to Africa to be part of the meeting, despite the fact that she would have for sure been needed in Germany as well, as there would currently been difficult negotiations for the new coalition government. Emmanuel Macron, President of France, took part at the meeting as well and announced concrete measures for Libya, which were accepted unanimously. The disastrous situation of the migrants in Libya shall be enhanced with certain agreed measures and the United Nations should get access to the refugee camps. Thus, even though the Summit did not bring too much concrete results it can be hoped, that some ideas will be successfully implemented in the future.