The fifth African Union – European Union (AU-EU) summit took place on 29-30 November 2017 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
The AU-EU summit brought together EU and African leaders to define the future direction for cooperation between the two continents.
Together they adopted a joint declaration outlining common priorities for the EU-Africa partnership in four strategic areas:
- economic opportunities for youth
- peace and security
- mobility and migration
- cooperation on governance
“As you know, the European Union is Africa’s biggest partner and closest neighbour. Its biggest investor, its biggest trading partner, its biggest provider of development aid and humanitarian assistance as well as its biggest contributor in peace and security. And this summit demonstrated our determination to reinforce our partnership even more.”
President Tusk at the press conference of the AU-EU summit, 30 November 2017
Leaders also adopted a joint statement on the migrant situation in Libya, condemning the inhuman treatment of migrants and refugees by criminal groups.
Investing in youth
At the summit, African and EU leaders focused on investing in youth. This is a key priority for Africa and the EU as 60% of the African population is under the age of 25.
President Donald Tusk stressed the common desire to invest in youth in his opening remark at the summit:
“I would also especially like to welcome the African and European youth who are with us today. You represent a group that has worked hard in the last months. You rightly expect that we listen to you as we discuss priorities and actions for the next years, and that we include you in their implementation, because it is you who will take them forward in the future. Our task as leaders is to take decisions that will make the future safer and more prosperous for all of our youth, both African and European.”
President Donald Tusk at the opening the 5th African Union-European Union summit in Abidjan
The new EU external investment plan was presented to leaders on the occasion of the summit. This investment plan intends to trigger €44 billion investments in Africa by 2020, thereby creating new job opportunities for young people across the African continent.
Mobility and migration
EU and African leaders agreed to support the mobility of students, staff and academics across the African continent. They also agreed to enhance exchange programmes between Africa and Europe, such as ERASMUS+.
Regarding migration, leaders discussed how to tackle migrant smuggling and how to address jointly the root causes of irregular migration.
Regarding the situation in Libya, EU and African leaders committed to work together to end the inhuman treatment of migrants and refugees in this country.
They adopted a joint statement calling for international cooperation to fight the perpetrator of such crimes, inside and outside Libya, and to bring them to justice.
“Migration has a significant impact on both of our continents. So we have a joint responsibility to acknowledge it as an important part of our relationship, which requires that we act together. This is especially true when it comes to the situation in Libya with the most cynical abuse of human beings. Let me repeat my call to impose UN sanctions on human smugglers and traffickers. And let me also say that we will not be effective, if we do not ensure that the people caught up in Libya and elsewhere can return safely to their homes.”
President Donald Tusk at the press conference the AU-EU summit, 30 November 2017
In the margins of the summit, the EU agreed to establish a joint migration task force with the African Union and the UN. This task force will aim to: