Select Committee on European Union Thirty-Fourth Report

CHAPTER 9: Conclusions and Recommendations

The EU's Strategy for Africa

441.  We welcome the Strategy and agree with its emphasis on peace, security and good governance, as well as development assistance, as essential steps to be taken for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. (para 4)

442.  We strongly agree that the problems of Africa's lack of development have been fully analysed and the necessary actions to be taken identified. The challenge now is to deliver. It is for the EU, acting under its Strategy for Africa, to make this happen. (para 6)

443.  The United Kingdom Government, as promoter of the Strategy, should take the lead in ensuring that the Strategy is fully implemented. (para 135)

444.  The EU has to acknowledge the many challenges noted in this Report and work with the Africa that exists, and not the Africa that Europeans would like to see. If this happens, there is a real chance that a genuinely joint strategy for Africa will emerge and be of value to all concerned. (para 440)

Developing the EU-Africa Partnership

445.  We believe that a second EU-Africa Summit is important for enlisting African support at the highest level for the establishment of a strategic partnership, and to ensure that EU policies are in line with African objectives. A second Summit would also considerably enhance prospects for the effective implementation of the Strategy. The EU should continue to explore avenues to enable the holding of the Summit. In the meantime, the EU should vigorously pursue all other mechanisms for dialogue with Africa in particular, but not solely, through the ministerial Troika meetings. (para 433)

446.  In providing detailed targets the joint implementation matrix agreed in Vienna on 8 May is an important development in the implementation of the EU Strategy. We agree that it also has symbolic value due to its joint formulation by both the EU and the AU. However, it remains essential for realisation of the partnership that a full joint EU-Africa strategy be agreed by heads of state and government, preferably at a second EU-Africa Summit. (para 438)

447.  The matrix should specify, in relation to each commitment, who exactly within the EU is responsible for its implementation. Where there is joint responsibility between the Commission and the Council, further details should be provided as to what action each institution will take. (para 130)

448.  The focus on the EDF as the primary source of funding for the Strategy for Africa is understandable but not inevitable. Although certain sources of funding, including from Member States through the CFSP budget and bilateral assistance, cannot be incorporated into plans being drawn up by EU officials, the EDF is not the only budget available to the EU. The proposed new financial instruments, once agreed, should also be available for fulfilling the commitments under the Strategy. (para 154)

449.  In making proposals for new initiatives under the Strategy, the Commission should determine which source of funding would be most suitable for each initiative, and justify that decision as part of its proposal. (para 155)

450.  We welcome the EU's commitment to including information on Member State bilateral aid within the joint implementation matrix. (para 98)

451.  Close monitoring and review by the Council of Ministers of the commitments made in the EU Strategy for Africa are essential for its implementation. The Strategy and its implementation should be reviewed annually, with progress measured against the more specific commitments set in the joint implementation matrix. (para 99)

EU-Africa dialogue

452.  In the absence of a second EU-Africa Summit, the dialogue and co-operation which has taken place at all levels between the EU and AU has been a positive development and its continuation will be essential to the implementation of the EU Strategy for Africa. Dialogue needs to be pursued more widely outside the level of the two Commissions and the Ministerial Troikas. (para 63)

453.  Although it is essential that the EU engage with all the various institutions within Africa, the African Union is the organisation which can best promote a pan-African consensus and the EU is accordingly right to focus on the AU as its principal partner in the EU-Africa dialogue. (para 393)

454.  The EU should continue to make every effort to engage with the sub-regional organisations as well as with the AU. (para 77)

455.  The EU should, working in co-operation with the African Union, find ways to better engage all elements of civil society in African countries in putting forward ideas for implementation of the EU Strategy for Africa. (para 396)

456.  The Commission should seek to strengthen its delegations throughout Africa in order to enable full implementation of the Strategy. This will require increased numbers of staff in some delegations, and improved levels of training and expertise. (para 420)

457.  The EU should create a more unified structure for the different functions performed by the Commission and the Council Secretariat in Addis Ababa. There should be a single overall EU mission which brings together expertise on development, governance and security, and which can be an effective interlocutor with the AU on all these matters. (para 421)

458.  All EU and Member State missions based in Africa, especially to the African Union, should share their expertise and co-ordinate their structures in order to ensure a harmonised approach to relations with each African state and regional organisation. (para 424)

459.  There should be close co-ordination and regular meetings held between the Special Representatives based in Africa and the relevant Commission delegations. (para 426)

The EU and AU institutions

460.  Some rationalisation of both European and African institutional structures will be necessary to avoid duplication and turf-fighting. The EU should consider how best it can rationalise its own institutions and instruments and the way they work. (para 439)

461.  We endorse the principle of strengthened co-ordination between the Member States and institutions of the European Union and urge the United Kingdom Government to engage fully with the Commission and other Member States in the implementation of the Strategy for Africa. (para 34)

462.  Zimbabwe underscores the problems relating to the political weakness of the AU; the failure of the AU to respond robustly to the situation in Zimbabwe presents a major challenge. (para 409)

463.  EU engagement with the AU should recognise the progress in Africa that the AU represents, as well as the scale of the challenges which it faces. (para 410)

464.  The EU must support the AU's efforts to rationalise both its internal functions and its interaction with other African institutions. (para 412)

465.  EU budgetary assistance to the AU should take account of the level of support provided by the African Union countries themselves. Over time, the EU should oversee a process whereby the AU's financial requirements are fully met by its own member states. (para 414)

Working with other states and multilateral institutions

466.  The EU should use its dialogue with China to encourage the Chinese to participate in encouraging reform in African states in the areas of governance, democracy and human rights. (para 27)

467.  The EU should continue to seek international backing for its work in Africa through the United Nations in order to gain the approval and assistance of third countries for that work. (para 40)

468.  The EU and its Member States must work with all relevant UN agencies in both policy formation and programme delivery in a genuine spirit of co-operation. (para 41)

469.  It is essential that the EU, through its Member States, encourages the international finance institutions and the OECD to take into account the development and security needs of Africa in formulating and implementing their policies. (para 43)

470.  The EU Commission's participation in the Africa Partnership Forum should be used to ensure that unnecessary duplication of efforts by its members and the EU is avoided. (para 53)

471.  Through its member states, the Forum should work with the EU, particularly in seeking to formulate complementary policies and ensure that their activities are carried out in a co-ordinated fashion avoiding unnecessary duplication. (para 54)

Policy Coherence

472.  We commend the EU's commitment to policy coherence for development and agree that the EU's policies, particularly under the Strategy for Africa, should be formulated taking into account their potential impact upon developing countries. (para 109)

473.  The European Commission should continue to facilitate discussions on coherence between different Directorates-General. Commission officials should consider the potential impact of their proposals on developing countries at the outset and be prepared to justify their proposals in public, including any negative impact they might have. (para 124)

474.  The EU must work with African partners, as well as co-ordinating its internal activities, to ensure that its policies are coherent across the whole of Africa. (para 117)

Development assistance

475.  We welcome the EU Member States' commitments to increase aid and to ensure that half of that increase goes to Africa. We are, however, concerned that some Member States will not be able to meet their commitments. We reiterate the recommendation in our recent Report on the Millennium Review Summit that monitoring procedures should be rigorously applied in order to ensure that the pledges made by all Member States are met.[194] (para 164)

476.  A major review exercise should be conducted by the Commission in 2010 to determine whether Member States are meeting their commitments. If they are not, the Commission should put forward constructive ideas for reaching the 2015 target including, if necessary, increases in the EDF and the EC's development budget. (para 165)

477.  The United Kingdom Government should set a positive example by being open and transparent in the way in which they achieve their own target; and should encourage others to do the same. (para 166)

478.  We agree that, in the context of the EU Strategy for Africa, EU donors must take a more co-ordinated approach to delivery of aid. (para 185)

479.  Effective co-ordination and harmonisation is essential for the EU when dealing with Africa compared with leaving the many challenges to be resolved by numerous European states acting independently of each other. (para 180)

480.  In relation to individual beneficiary countries, the needs and wishes of the particular country must determine who takes the lead in that co-ordination. In many cases the Commission will be the most appropriate coordinator of donor activity and should be allowed to so act by the Member States. (para 186)

481.  In relation to overall EU development assistance the Commission is best placed to analyse global distribution and remedy any imbalances. Under the Strategy for Africa the Commission should carry out a detailed analysis of how Member States' combined ODA is being spent and produce a report specifying how better co-ordination could help to achieve the Strategy's objectives. (para 187)

482.  The Commission should present a communication setting out how it intends to fulfil its commitments under the Paris Declaration on aid effectiveness for consideration in Council before the end of 2006. (para 199)

483.  We agree that budget support provides a better means of supporting the aim of African ownership in the Strategy for Africa than programme support. (para 209)

484.  NEPAD could devise a programme to support parliamentary oversight of ODA spending in Africa whilst EU (including Member State) parliamentarians should share their expertise and experiences. AWEPA, the organisation of European Parliamentarians for Africa, is already going some way towards achieving this, but its resources are limited. (para 207)

485.  Further consideration should be given by EU Member States to direct budget aid, including an examination of the Governance and Economic Management Assistance Programme and its potential to control finances in poorly governed African states. (para 210)

Governance, Democracy and Human Rights

486.  The implementation of governance initiatives requires a better understanding of what constitutes good governance. The EU should work with Africans and the international community to achieve a common definition of good governance. (para 233)

487.  We believe that the APRM holds great potential to make a significant difference in enhancing good governance in Africa. The EU should take a close interest in the development of the APRM, with a focus on helping the Africans to develop it. It is important that the EU acknowledge the scale of the challenges facing the APRM. (para 245)

488.  The EU needs to encourage more AU member states to participate in the APRM. It should provide programming and other support for countries participating positively in the APRM process, both as part of the reporting process and in terms of support for the implementation of recommendations made. (para 250)

489.  The EU should also, when allocating aid, take account of whether countries participate in, and implement the recommendations of, the APRM. (para 251)

490.  However, EU engagement with the APRM should be careful not to undermine African ownership of the process. Accordingly, the EU should not seek to influence the outcome of Peer Reviews nor to specify the means by which countries implement any recommendations made. (para 252)

491.  The EU should make robust use of existing provisions under Cotonou on governance issues. (para 256)

492.  However, the fact that Cotonou primarily engages at the country level on issues of governance provides significant potential for useful dialogue. (para 257)

493.  The programming process for the 10th EDF can be used effectively to support good governance: extra funds should be made available for countries that commit themselves to promoting good governance; consultations under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement should be invoked for countries that are failing to promote good governance, although the emphasis should be on dialogue in the first instance. (para 258)

494.  The EU should use dialogue with the AU to encourage and assist the AU's governance role. The EU is also well-placed to support the continued development of the AU's institutional capacity in this area. Co-ordinated bilateral agreements within the framework of the EU Strategy for Africa should encourage AU Member States to take forward and implement the political commitments it has made to promoting good governance. (para 276)

495.  European efforts to support governance through Cotonou and the European Neighbourhood Policy should be sufficiently flexible to accommodate diverse levels of governance in different African states, and should support relevant African structures. (para 262)

496.  A firm response by the AU to the situation in Zimbabwe is critical to the credibility of the institution as an effective mechanism to promote human rights in Africa and as a viable interlocutor for the EU. The EU should strongly support any such response by the AU in relation to Zimbabwe. (para 223)

497.  We commend those leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to good governance and expect that the EU will support them in sharing best practice with their neighbours. (para 279)

498.  Implementation of the EU Strategy for Africa should support the involvement of civil society in the promotion of governance in Africa, particularly the role of African civil society groups in helping to build African institutional capacity in this area at national, sub-regional and continental levels. (para 290)

Peace and security

499.  We commend the AU's various initiatives to promote peace in Darfur, which should be helpful in providing the political context for a peace process in the region but, sadly, we acknowledge that the violence continues in many areas and that the AU has suffered from severe resource and logistical constraints. The EU should urge the AU to co-operate with the UN in planning a UN peacekeeping operation in Darfur. (para 315)

500.  We believe that ESDP missions have been an effective means of promoting peace and security in Africa and should continue to be deployed where appropriate. EU Battlegroups have the potential to play a significant role in supporting peace operations in Africa. (para 317)

501.  The EU should continue its efforts to develop integrated approaches to peace and security initiatives in Africa, developing more systematic co-ordination with the UN, with NATO and with other operational partners. (para 322)

502.  We believe that the African Peace Facility has made a very significant contribution to African-led promotion of peace and stability in Africa and welcome its renewal as part of the 10th EDF. The review process for the APF should evaluate the status of the African Standby Force and the other elements of the African peace and security architecture, in deciding how to take the APF forward beyond 2010. If necessary, the EU should be prepared to supplement the current APF in the meantime. (para 341)

503.  The EU must continue to assist in operationalising the African Standby Force by supporting the establishment of its key components in Addis Ababa and in the RECs. Capacity-building programmes for the ASF should pay careful attention to the specific functions of the AU relative to other operational partners active in Africa, based on a broader process to develop a more rationalised, interlocking and integrated international peacekeeping system; this will help to maximise the effectiveness both of African capability and of donor support for capacity-building. (para 357)

504.  The EU is well placed to provide institutional support to build the AU's preventive capacity and should ensure that capacity-building programmes support the preventive components of the African peace and security architecture effectively, paying particular attention to civilian and police elements. (para 363)

505.  We believe that the EU has a key role to play both in helping to build the peace and security capacity of the AU and in providing direct, operational support in Africa where necessary. Achieving an appropriate balance between the provision of operational support and longer-term support for indigenous, African structures should be a key component of EU policy, taking into account the roles of other key partners in this area. (para 369)

506.  The EU should find ways to engage across the whole spectrum of activities supporting security sector reform initiatives in Africa. (para 371)

507.  The EU and AU must work with the new UN Peacebuilding Commission to make a genuine difference to countries emerging from conflict, by drawing together and co-ordinating the activities of the key peacebuilding actors in Africa, including the UN and the AU, and by developing a close working relationship with the International Financial Institutions. (para 379)

194   European Union Committee, 11th Report (2005-2006): The European Union's Role at the Millennium Review Summit (HL 35), paragraph 164.  Back

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