By Gambian Correspondent – The African Union Commission (AUC) and the European Commission (EC) are convening in Brussels, Belgium, for their annual College-to-College meeting, in the context of the Joint Africa-EU Partnership scheduled between today 31 May and 1 June.
The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Jean Ping, accompanied by African Union Commissioners, including the Deputy Chairperson of the AUC, will be meeting in Brussels with the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, and European Commissioners.
This 5th edition of the meeting of the European Commission – Africa Union Commission (C2C) is the first C2C after the third Africa-EU Summit held in November 2010. The previous edition of the C2C took place in Addis Ababa in June 2010.
The meeting aims to strengthen the political and technical cooperation between the two institutions; foster closer operational links, and stimulate the joint strategic thinking and policy-setting of the two Commissions. It is also the opportunity to identify additional opportunities to define and defend common positions in the international arena.
The C2C meeting seeks furthermore to give fresh impetus to the implementation of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy and its Action Plan 2011-2013, adopted by EU and African leaders during the 3rd Summit in November 2010, and to provide high-level inputs for the future political agenda of Africa-EU relations.
Both the EU and Africa need to address together the key transnational challenges, including crisis and conflicts, climate change, and the governance of the international system; to seize new opportunities to shape globalization in a positive manner, and to establish an effective and credible alliance that enables both sides to better make their voice heard.
“It is therefore an excellent opportunity for both Commissions to define joint priorities in the follow-up of the 3rd Summit Declaration and its operational Action Plan 2011-13,” a statement from the AU Commission said yesterday.
It is also an excellent opportunity to influence Africa’s emerging continental policy agenda, and to build on the existing cooperation and good personal relations in the context of the demanding international agenda where both Commissions could and should do more to align EU-Africa interests and to promote the shared values.
The Regional Economic Communities (RECs) will join the meeting. Their presence, at the level of Secretary-General, is expected to boost the ownership of all key actors in the Joint Africa-EU Strategy and engage them at the highest level to participate more actively in the implementation of the Action Plan 2011-2013.
The meeting should also lead to improved coordination between the EC, the AUC, and the RECs in key areas such as peace and security, trade and regional integration.
The programme of the meeting between the two Commissions will cover two days divided between thematic cluster meetings of Commissioners, bilateral meetings and a plenary session, which will take place in the morning of 1st June.
The plenary session will focus on consolidating democracy, including developments in Northern Africa, and consolidating growth.