Select Committee on European Union Thirty-Fourth Report



What this Report is about

At the December 2005 European Council the EU set itself the challenge of creating a new partnership with Africa with the primary objective of achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Strategy adopted emphasises peace, security and good governance as the prerequisites for sustainable development in Africa, alongside economic growth and regional integration. The Strategy complements and builds on the many international commitments to Africa made in 2005.

We believe that the EU has correctly identified what needs to be done and must now deliver. It is well placed to do so given the combination of longstanding relationships between many European and African states and the EU's multilateral perspective. A number of challenges remain, however. This Report considers what more needs to be done in order to implement the Strategy and to ensure that the EU's policies towards Africa are coherent and co-ordinated.

Many of the difficulties of implementation derive from basic tensions which the Strategy does not tackle: lack of co-ordination between different directorates-general within the Commission, between the Commission and the Council Secretariat and between the EU institutions and the Member States; uncertainty as to sources of funding; and different policies for different regions of Africa. None of these difficulties are insurmountable, but they need to be addressed before the Strategy's aims can be met.

The Strategy stresses the need for African ownership and responsibility for Africa's own development. Therefore the EU Member States need not only to work together, but to work with African states and regional organisations. Accordingly the EU's first priority must be to help build Africans' capacity to deal with their own affairs such as the promotion of good governance through the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) and peacekeeping missions led by the African Union (AU).

The ultimate aim of both the EU and the AU is a genuinely joint strategy for Africa. We believe this is possible, but only if certain conditions are met: a second EU-Africa summit must be held; some rationalisation of both European and African institutions must take place in order to avoid duplication and turf-fighting; and, above all, the EU must not forget the promises it has made, but actively strive towards fulfilment of the commitments contained within its Strategy for Africa and, in particular, the effective implementation of agreements with the African Union.

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