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Can 2020 be a critical year for Africa-EU connections? Not without conversation and mutual respect

Could this be the very first step to move from an asymmetric connection and toward authentic collaboration? It’s not just to sit down together to talk about matters, but it’s also to employ them to remain true to what you’ve approved or what you’ve promised.”

Even though EU political leaders assert that 2020 is going to be a ‘critical year’ for EU-Africa connections, the combined statement expected to be made shortly by the European Commission (EC) and the European Union External Action Service (EEAS) neglects to demonstrate a true goal to move away from an asymmetric relationship. The communication, which was unofficially circulating among specialists, is the kick-off of a lengthy consultation process with numerous stakeholders which is supposed to pave the way into the 6th EU-AU Summit in October. Regrettably, this EU unilateral statement setting the schedule for the procedure suggests that 2020 dangers being more of the same old, same old.

From the long run of AU-EU connections, the very first joint Africa-EU Strategy adopted back in 2007 had emphasized the necessity to move”from a conventional connection,” to forge”a true partnership characterized by equality” and also to admit the”positive improvements on both continents,” words used again from the Commission as justifications for a new Africa strategy in 2020. In reality, the list of conditions used in preceding governmental discourses and policy records of EU authorship is quite lengthy. 2020 is supposed to be a”pivotal year,” to signify a”crucial,””gold,””precious” and”unique opportunity” to suggest a”revitalized frame,” change the paradigm” and”reshape the EU-AU connections” – like 2007 and 2017 were supposed to.

To not give with one hand and eliminate another
Ahead of the prior AU-EU summit three decades ago, that the Commission had introduced its vision for its partnership, that had been primarily connected into the EU’s strategic interests and also the result of an EU-alone manifestation. The brand new one expected to be issued to the upcoming summit has revealed progress by leaving from a first conversation with the AU. Sadly, this advancement is largely symbolic, as well as the record remains not grounded to a shared manifestation or about respect toward African American counterparts. Additionally, it fails to demonstrate policy coherence, which means to suggest concrete strategies to refrain from participating in activities that undermine sustainable growth in Africa and infringe on the individual rights of African American citizens.

The planned strategy is supposed to help boost a two-way venture, but it neglects steps to increase the contributions of Africans to growth in Africa. By way of instance, it lacks tips on battling racism in Europe, a significant barrier for African American diaspora to achieve its entire potential, also on reducing the price on the remittances (SDG 10) they deliver to their nations of origin, a significant source for development. Additionally, it lacks suggestions for how to alter EU citizens’ consumption patterns which are determined by exploitative practices in Africa (SDG 12), to make sure that EU businesses are socially responsible (SDGs 8 and 12), and also to encourage transaction without interrupting local agriculture to the advantage of European farmers. The new approach talks about battling illegal financial flows, but doesn’t suggest a reasonable tax system where European businesses pay taxes from the African nations where they earn their riches, which might provide a significant push to those markets.

It talks about methods to safeguard displaced populations in Africa, but doesn’t put forward specific actions to enlarge legal and safe pathways for migration into Europe.

At a missed chance, the Commission’s proposed new approach overlooks the enormous and frequently negative impact that EU member nations and businesses have in the lives of countless African American taxpayers, also fails to function as the worldwide Partnerships Commissioner’s guarantee of working for individuals (not for authorities or businesses, but individuals ). By comparison, a legitimate partnership wouldn’t be constructed on a plan that only attempts to cover the challenges and opportunities of the African continent and just targets African American objectives which are already tasked with EU priorities – strengthening a paternalistic approach – however, might likewise be based on a vital self-reflection on the way the EU may restrict the adverse spillovers of its internal and external policies in Africa.

If the EU doesn’t require policy coherence badly, its new suggestions to boost sustainable growth, a green transition, serenity, individual rights-based migration direction and multilateralism will offer just a pseudo solution to cure the outcome of their harmful practices and threat being more wasted chance.

To boost the possibilities of 2020 becoming a critical season, Caritas Europa and Caritas Africa involve EU leaders to place EU democratic and human rights values in the heart of the approaching dialogues and consultations around the new approach. This way can the EU maintain its credibility as an international leader for individual rights, operate for African and European men and women, and nurture an equal partnership with Africa.