published on European Think Tanks Group November 2017
• This year’s AU-EU Summit, involving 55 African countries, takes place at a time when the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states are preparing negotiations on a future Partnership Agreement, which governs EU relations with no less than 48 of the same African countries.
• The Summit is a critical opportunity for the EU and AU member states to engage in high-level dialogue, and to address the complex and fragmented existing architecture for EU cooperation with Africa.
• Yet EU-ACP cooperation is not formally on the agenda of the upcoming Summit. Instead, partners appear to keep the political partnership agenda of AU-EU separate from the ACP-EU development cooperation system, despite their recognition of the need to strengthen regional dynamics.
• While understandable given the differing memberships, guiding principles and negotiation timetables, it will be difficult for the EU simultaneously to step up interest-driven cooperation and dialogue with the African Union and its member states, while also maintaining EU-ACP cooperation under the procedures and processes of the Cotonou Agreement.