A record number of College members travel to Addis Ababa for the 10th European Union-African Union Commission-to-Commission meeting

addis ababa

Stadium/Meskel Square, A5, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (Fitsum Admasu, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, travels tomorrow to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the 10th Commission-to-Commission meeting between the European Union and the African Union, accompanied by 20 Commissioners and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Discussions will focus on key issues such as growth, jobs, green transition, digital, peace, security and governance, and mobility and migration.

Before departing Brussels, President von der Leyen, said: “Europe and Africa are natural partners. We have a historic bond and we share many of today’s challenges. One of our main objectives is to turn the green and digital transformation of our economies into opportunities for our youth.”

This 10th Commission-to-Commission meeting marks a record participation on the EU side, a testament of the priority relations which Africa represents for the new European Commission and its aspiration to take them to a new level.

Besides High Representative/Vice-President of the Commission Josep Borrell, Vice-Presidents for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, for a Europe fit for the Digital Age, Margrethe Vestager, for an Economy that works for people, Valdis Dombrovskis, for Inter-institutional Relations and Foresight, Maroš Šefčovič, for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová, for Democracy and Demography, Dubravka Šuica, as well as Vice-President for Promoting our European way of life, Margaritis Schinas, will accompany the President.

Commissioners for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, for Trade, Phil Hogan, for Innovation and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, for Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, for Justice, Didier Reynders, for Equality, Helena Dalli, for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, as well as Commissioners for Transport, Adina Ioana Vălean, for Energy, Kadri Simson and for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, will also travel to Addis Ababa.

The EU and the African Union (AU) will discuss how to take foward their cooperation to address key challenges both Europe and Africa are facing such as the need to promote sustainable growth and jobs, green transition, digital transformation, peace, security and good governance, mobility and migration.

The meeting will also be an opportunity for the EU side to consult its African partners on the upcoming comprehensive Africa Strategy which President von der Leyen promised to deliver in her first 100 days in office and is due to be presented in early March.

The presentation of this important document will kick-start a wider consultation process that will lead up to the EU-AU Ministerial meeting in May 2020 in Kigali, Rwanda, and the upcoming EU-AU Summit in October in Brussels, where both sides will agree a joint approach on shared priorities.

Background

The EU and the AU have progressively built a solid strategic and political partnership that is anchored on reciprocal commitments. This partnership is based on shared values and interests, enshrined in the Joint Africa-EU Strategy adopted in 2007 in the Summit in Lisbon.

Political dialogue between the EU and the AU takes place regularly at different levels. Commission-to-Commission and ministerial meetings take place every year, whilst EU-AU Summits at Heads of State level are held every three years. At the 5th AU-EU Summit in 2017, African and European leaders identified economic opportunities for the youth, peace and security, mobility and migration and cooperation on governance as the strategic priorities for 2018-2020 and committed to tackle them jointly.

The EU also presented in the Summit in 2017 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, its new External Investment Plan with the objective to create 10 million new jobs by 2023, in particular for women and young people. The Plan hopes to trigger €47 billion in public and private investments.

In the last Commission-to-Commission meeting in May 2018 in Brussels, the EU and the AU signed a Memorandum of Understanding to reinforce their cooperation in the area of peace and security.

The two Commissions are committed to being active players and driving forces to implement the EU-AU Partnership, which is today more relevant than ever in a fast evolving global environment.

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