The European Union (EU) indicates that it wants to have a new kind of relationship with the African Union (AU). A preliminary agenda was set out by the Commission in March 2020 and partly revised by the Council in the Summer and Fall of 2020. These documents signal a desire for a more equal partnership, while the details are partly contradictory. Some sections indicate a desire for an equal partnership while other sections signal one-sided demands on the AU. A close reading of the documents indicate that the European External Action Service (EEAS) is taking lead on a new partnership arrangement, with the Council partly in opposition. The documents furthermore indicate that there are tensions between the DG’s and their partly contradictory ambitions. They also indicate that EU aid policy is a target for the revised strategy. This is also suggested by the change of name of the DG for aid policy, from DG Devco (Development cooperation) to DG INTPA (International partnerships). The aim of the paper is to describe and analyze the EU documents through an overview of the critique against it. It is also based on interviews with a selection of civil servants involved in the design of the documents.
Keywords: Africa, Policy change, Strategy, Contradictions
Lars Niklasson |Linköping University & SIEPS, Sweden
Deputy professor in Political Science at Linköping University and Senior researcher at the Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies (SIEPS).