Home / Europe 2020 / Seminar GlobalEurope 4 / EU-Africa

Seminar GlobalEurope 4 / EU-Africa

Brussels (Egmont Palace), May 5, 2004

Organised in partnership with the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Seminar’s executive summary


Relations between Europe and Africa are very ancient. Contrary to most other regions in the word, the EU has for itself a rather long experience of relation to African countries via the EU-ACP Agreements (Lome then Cotonou Conventions). For some EU States, these relations have both been very intimate and contrasted, e.g. the colonies contribute to fuel a feeling of European responsibility towards Africa. This feeling however has often been weakened by century-long practices founded on the exploitation of the continent and of its riches (among which its human resources), a situation to which the end of the colonies did not change much until the 90s. The end of the Cold War and the progressive replacement of colonial-related elites (in Africa as much as in Europe) have introduced some positive change in the relation between Africans and Europeans, namely including a clearer awareness of two assets: the existence of a privileged relationship and the need to adapt it to 21st Century challenges and requirements – peace and continental security, economic security and population policies, democratisation and integration to 21st Century global society.

This awareness increased within a painful framework of African tragedies. Some of which are comparable to those perpetrated in Europe during WWII: genocides resulting in millions of deads (namely in the region of the Great Lakes), with civil or inter-state wars fueled by ethnic conflicts as background. Others belong to logics of epidemic (HIV) or pandemic (tropical diseases) that the 21st Century happen to be capable to cure in other parts of the world. However the most remarkable development of this relation lately is the extension of its scope: from a relation mainly focused on development (EDF, trade preferences), it has enriched into multisectoral dialogues ranging from political to military. As to the Europeans, this development is the consequence of a double-move: an increased awareness of their good interest (progressive wearing off of the sense of sectorial or geographical « private properties ») ; emergence of an African policy (not only a development one) in some European countries previously little or not involved in Africa.

Those crises have conducted the international community to get involved into initiatives such as the Cotonou Convention or NEPAD (which is new precisely because it is an African-born initiative – mechanism of peer-review, consideration for issues of gouvernance, etc.). The historic example provided by South Africa has shown that the future could belong to solutions invented and implemented by the Africans themselves; and that the Europeans, and the EU in particular (main donor and operator in Africa), could be the strategic partners of these developments. Common history, cultural intermingle (intensified since the 60s by the strong African immigration to Europe), complementarity in terms of riches, are indeed some of the assets on which to base the future EU-Africa relation. It is necessary to put in common the know-hows of both ex-colonial member-states’ (who are often still the main actors of current EU-Africa cooperation) and the other member-states which have developed more recent and somehow more modern African experiences through cooperation and humanitarian action; however this exchange of know-how requirement is both a chance and a handicap (inter-state competition, diverging visions) of Europe’s action. Similarly the historic importance of this cooperation at both national and European levels has resulted in the construction of enormous “administrative machineries” which objectives and methods it is today essential to reconsider.

The European and African generations who will be in charge of the relations of their continents in 2020 will have at least one thing in common: both sides will be born after the colonies. Thus they should be able to share one more: the common mission to build two viable continental regions (EU and AU) cooperating tightly. The present seminar intends to cast some light on the path leading towards this direction.


9.00 – Opening session

His Excellency Mr Jan Mutton, Ambassador, Special Envoy for Belgium to the Great Lakes

His Excellency Mr Ferdinand Nyabende, President of the African Group in Brussels

Frank Biancheri, Director of Research and Strategy, Europe 2020

10.00 – Theme 1 – Peoples’ political security: what reply to ethnic conflicts and genocides? (Great Lakes)

Ethnic conflicts and genocides : two words that embody Africa’s sudden irruption on the international political scene at the end of the 20th Century. Because it changes the « classical » vision of an Africa affected by endemic harms (hunger, diseases…) and being “naturally” doomed, the Great Lakes’ crisis enables the Europeans to understand that Africa is also a continent where political, and therefore human, strengths are at work. In parallel, these atrocities resound somehow familiar to European ears and probably contribute to bridge the gap between the two continents and their historic wanderings. Political security thus becomes an African priority fully supported by the EU. The EU now has to define the means and limitations of its support while ensuring that it ceases to contribute to fuel the causes of political insecurity.


Katalin Nyirati and Zoltán Polák, Sub-Saharan Africa desk officers, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Budapest


11.00 – Break

11.30 – Theme 2 – Peoples’ economic security (NEPAD, EDF)

A repeated objective for the UN as well as for the Europeans, Africa’s economic development was never undertaken. The fact that the Africans should be directly involved in this developement, as well as the vitalrole played by the EU in terms of direct and indirect aid and in terms of follow-up of the African process of developement, require a renovation of the ends, instruments, methods and human resources involved. European economic interests in Africa are faced to greater competition with other continents (Americas, Asia) and can no longer be considered the « chasses gardées » they used to be. What are the assets the Europeans should highlight in order to appear as privileged partners for the Africans? And what are the minimal conditions (in terms of political security in particular) that European investors consider as necessary to get durably involved in the African continent?


Abey Hailu Senbeta, Researcher, Luxembourg Institute for European and International Studies


12.45 – Luncheon

14.30 – Theme 3 – Continental collective peace and security: What reply can integration provide? (AU, Peace Facility)

The Africans try to organise their collective security through a model of continental integration thatb owes to the European example. Given the different ongoing actions and the will to energise African regional integration, what could the European added-value be? Can the EU efficiently contribute to the building of an efficient and sustainable continental architecture ? The success of any institutional choice such as a political or economic integration depends on the human resources available. How can the EU contribute to train the Africans this continent need by 2020?


Isabel Lopes Ferreira, President of Africa Debate, Lisbon


15.30 – Break

16.00 – Theme 4 – Full integration to 21st Century global society (immigration, trade, UN, etc.)

Fully integrating Africa to 21st Century global society is certainly one of the great challenges of the next decades. The EU, Africa’s main partner in all fields, must define its own strategy to bring the Africans along this process. What policies should the EU recommend to the international organizations in this field? How could it highlight its own experience of co-operation with Africa? In this matter, the EU shall not only recommend, it will have to prove.


Nick Leake, Theme Manager, Economy, Growth, Financing & Globalisation Commission, Africa Secretariat, UK


17.00 Closing session

18.00 End of the seminar


. Pertti Anttinen, Conseiller, Unité Afrique Australe, Ministère des Affaires étrangères, Helsinki

. Kalliopi Avraam, Ambassadeur de la République de Chypre à Bruxelles

. Dominique Baillet, Correspondant Afrique subsaharienne, Délégation à l’action humanitaire, Ministère des Affaires étrangères, Paris

. Daniel Baur, Expert affaires européennes, Paris

. Salvator Bazikamwe, Conseiller adjoint Afrique subsaharienne, Service Public Fédéral Affaires Etrangères, Bruxelles

. Katerina Beckova, Relations extérieures, Mission de la République Tchèque auprès de l’UE

. Marios Belibassakis, Représentation Permanente de la Grèce auprès de l’UE

. Jean-François Bernicot, Membre de la Cour des Comptes européenne, Luxembourg

. Franck Biancheri, Directeur Etudes et Stratégie, Europe 2020

. Paal Bjørnestad, Mission de la Norvège auprès de l’UE, Bruxelles

. Karolina Blasiak, Chargée de mission, Europe 2020

. Jean-Claude Boidin, DG Développement, Commission européenne

. Marie-Hélène Caillol, Vice-Présidente, Europe 2020

. Stelios Christopoulos, Administrateur principal, Unité Caraïbe, DG Développement, Commission Européenne

. Richard Corbett, Membre du Parlement européen (ou son attaché parlementaire)

. Régine Debrabandère, Cellule Stratégique auprès du Ministre de la Coopération de Belgique

. Katya Deleva, Experte à la Division Afrique, Ministère des Affaires étrangères, Sofia

. Isabelle Deschard, Présidente ACEP, Paris

. Romuald Dzomo Nkongo, Président Avenir NEPAD, Paris

. Elmar Eich, Relations EU-Afrique, Représentation Permanente de l’Allemagne auprès de l’UE

. Manfred Peter Emmes, Ministre-Conseiller, Ambassade d’Allemagne, Bruxelles

. Isabel Lopes Ferreira, Présidente de Africa Debate, Lisbonne

. Patrick Fers, 2nd Conseiller, Ambassade de France, Bruxelles

. Paul Frix, Directeur Général, Cohérences des Politiques sur le Développement, MAE Belgique

. Pascale Gallien, Etat Major de la défense nationale belge, Bruxelles

. Brigitte Gloire, Oxfam International Belgique

. Caroline Gosselain, Conseillère Afrique, Cabinet du Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, Bruxelles

. Patrick Hemmer, Représentation Permanente du Luxembourg auprès de l’UE

. Alina Jalea, Attachée, Chef de l’Unité Afrique au sein du Département ONU, Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, Bucarest

. Silviu Jipa, 3ème Secretary, Chef de l’Unité Afrique, Département Moyen-Orient, Afrique et Asie, Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, Bucarest

. Janet Karapetian, Ministère de la Justice, Bruxelles

. Unni Kløvstad, Ministre-Conseiller, Mission de la Norvège auprès de l’UE, Bruxelles

. Dietmar Krissler, Chef de l’Unité Burundi & Rwanda, Commission Européenne

. Nick Leake, Theme Manager, Commission Economie, Croissance, Financement et Globalisation, Africa Secretariat, Londres

. Helena Malcata, Conseillère du Ministre des Affaires européennes, Lisbonne

. Jocelyn Mawdsley, Chercheur, Institut d’études européennes, Université Libre de Bruxelles

. Luis Moratinos, Stagiaire DGEII (Coopération au développement), Secrétariat Général, Conseil de l’UE

. Jan Mutton, Ambassadeur, Envoyé Spécial du Royaume de Belgique pour les Grands Lacs

. Ferdinand Nyabende, Président du Groupe africain, Bruxelles

. Cheikh Nyang, Représentation de l’Union Africaine auprès de l’UE

. Katalin Nyirati, Chef de l’Unité Afrique Sub-Saharienne, Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, Budapest

. Alina Padeanu, 1er Secretary, Département des politiques transatlantiques, Asie, Afrique, Mission de la Roumanie auprès de l’UE

. Dirk Pauwels, Chef de cabinet de Jean-François Bernicot, Cour des Comptes européenne, Luxembourg

. Michelle Piaggio, Département Politique africaine, Département pour le Développement International, Londres

. Zoltán Polák, Chef de l’Unité Afrique Sub-Saharienne, Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, Budapest

. Anna Raduchowska-Brochwicz, Conseillère, Représentation Permanente de Pologne auprès de l’UE

. Stanislav Rascan, Chef du Département Afrique, Asie et Amérique Latine, Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, Ljubljana

. Abey Hailu Senbeta, Chercheur, Institut Luxembourgeois d’Etudes Européennes et Internationales

. Tania Schimmell, Chef de Section, Division Afrique, Ministre des Affaires Etrangères, Copenhague

. Nathalie Thiberge, Chargée de projet, Programme d’Information Multi-Pays PHARE, Sema Belgique

. Norbert Tricaud, Chargé des Relations Internationales, Avenir NEPAD

. Jesper Tvevad, Administrateur (Unité Afrique Orientale), Secrétariat Général du Conseil de l’UE (DGE V)

. Bénédicte Van Den Berg, Direction E, Ministère des Affaires étrangères, Bruxelles

. Lydwine Verhaegen, Sociologue, Bruxelles

. Krista Verstraelen, Cellule Stratégique du Ministre de la Coopération de Belgique

. Angel Vinas, Représentation Permanente de l´Espagne auprès de l´UE, Bruxelles

. Jolien Visscher, Stagiaire DGEII (ACP), Conseil de l’UE

. Brigita Zelezneva, 2ème Secrétaire, Division Asie and Afrique, Ministère des Affaires étrangères, Riga

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