OUTLINE FOR A JOINT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT/PAN-AFRICAN PARLIAMENT STRATEGY IN PREPARATION OF THE EUROPE/AFRICA SUMMIT TO BE HELD IN DECEMBER 2007 IN LISBON, PORTUGAL
(AIDE-MEMOIRE FOR PAP)
By Dr. Samuel EFOUA MBOZO’O
PAP Deputy Clerk for
1. BACKGROUND OF EUROPE-AFRICA RELATIONS
Ties between Africa and Europe have existed over centuries and they have brought about different forms of cooperation covering political, economic, social, cultural and linguistic domains. While these ties are to be deplored at the beginning as they were dominated by unjustified prejudices and ignoble practices such as the slave trade, enslavement, mercantilism and colonization, there is now reason to welcome the fact that following African national independences these links have now been developing on the basis of common values such as the strengthening of representative and participatory democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, the rule of law, good management of public affairs, pluralism, international peace and security, political stability and trust amongst nations.
The Cairo Action Plan
Aware of this long-standing tradition of cooperation and in view of the fast globalization process, African and European Union Heads of State met under the aegis of the OAU and the EU on 3-4 April 2000 in Cairo, Egypt, to lend a new strategic dimension to the global partnership between Africa and Europe in the 21st Century, in a spirit of equality, respect, alliance and cooperation between the two continents. The main objective of this new partnership, as per the declaration produced by the Cairo meeting, consists in strengthening existing ties in matters of economic, political and cultural cooperation through the creation of an environment and effective framework that may facilitate constructive dialogue on economic, political, social and development issues, specifically on:
- regional economic cooperation and integration;
- integration of Africa into global economy;
- human rights, democratic principles and institutions, good management of public affairs and rule of law;
- consolidation of peace and conflict prevention, management and resolution;
2. IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CAIRO ACTION PLAN
To facilitate the implementation of the Cairo action plan and ensure its follow-up, Europe-Africa ministerial Troika meetings were instituted. The first meeting took place in Brussels, Belgium, on 11 October 2001.
To date, eight ministerial meetings have alternately been held in Europe and Africa, and the next session (the 9th) is scheduled for Accra, Ghana, in late October 2007. These ministerial meetings are always preceded by consultations at expert level. During the meetings, joint declarations are made on political, economic, social and development issues. This has been the case with:
- the declaration on terrorism (Brussels, October 2001)
- the draft Ouagadougou action plan against human trafficking, in particular of women and children;
- the adoption of the Outline for the joint EU/Africa strategy (Brussels, May 2007).
3. SHARED VISION OF PARTNERSHIP
In December 2005, the Council of Europe adopted a new strategy for Africa, setting out the European vision of relations between Africa and Europe. Africa reacted against such a strategy during the Troika meeting in Bamako (Mali) in December 2005. As a result, the ministerial Troika of the two regions, convening in May 2007 in Brussels for its eighth session, adopted the new Outline for the joint EU/Africa strategy.
By and large, the purpose of this new joint strategy is to raise the EU/Africa partnership to a higher strategic level, and this partnership should be based on an African-European consensus regarding the objectives of a common strategy and to mark the beginning of a new phase in relations between Europe and Africa.
The partnership is aimed at filling technological development gaps and vacuum between Africa and Europe through the promotion of sustainable advancement, peace, security, prosperity, solidarity and unity. This joint strategy is expected to be a framework of action for relations between the European Union and the African Union and it would be implemented through political dialogue with concrete results in the areas of peace and security, good governance and human rights, trade and regional integration. Partnership and developments should be based on principles of African unity, interdependence of the two continents, respect for democracy, rule of law and right to development.
As a result, the two parties committed themselves to fully enforce agreements already entered into, and there should be an underpinning dialogue of co-responsibility and co-management within the framework of bilateral cooperation and mutual accountability based on equality, justice, security, respect for international law and agreements, parity, and non-discrimination, and such dialogue should be part of a long-term exercise.
b) Objectives of the common strategy
Four objectives are targeted by this new strategy:
• To reinforce and elevate the political partnership to address issues of common concern (strengthening of institutions, migration and the environment);
• To promote peace, security, sustainable development, human rights, and regional and continental integration in Africa to ensure that all the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are achieved by 2015;
• To mutually promote and support a system of effective multilateralism, as well as strong and legitimate multilateral institutions, including the reform of the United Nations system, addressing global and common interest challenges such as human rights, HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, climate change, energy, security, new ICT issues, science and technology, terrorism, etc.;
• To encourage and promote partnership based on the people so that they can play an active role in development, conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction processes; to promote holistic processes, including reinforcement of democracy and establishment of a permanent platform for information and mobilization in favour of civil society actors and the private sector.
c) New approaches, strategies, actors, implementation and follow-up
To achieve these objectives, the new joint strategy decided upon in Brussels in May 2007 provides for new approaches and strategies in the areas of peace and security, good governance, human rights, trade and regional integration, and key development sectors (cooperation, human and social development, environment, migration, agriculture, food security, and infra-structure).
As for actors, the new strategy should bring in, and be implemented by, a cross-section of institutional and non-institutional stakeholders of the European Union and Africa at continental, regional, national, and local levels.
As regards implementation and follow-up mechanisms, the joint strategy is to be implemented through successive action plans, which will build on the operational part of this strategy: such action plans will be based on programmes, projects and activities to be identified. Similarly, control and assessment mechanisms will be established on the basis of the current joint platform for the implementation of the strategy. The two parties are supposed to work closely together to secure financing and reinforce access to sources of funding. Finally, since the joint strategy is a long-term programme, it should be reviewed on a regular and appropriate basis.
This is the content of the new strategy decided upon by the Troika of the African Union and the European Union. Public consultations have since been launched by the Commissions of the African Union and the European Union to collect recommendations from civil society on the joint EU/Africa strategy, which is expected to be adopted during the Second EU/Africa Summit in December 2007.
4. LACK OF PARLIAMENTARY INVOLVEMENT
In view of the foregoing, it becomes clear that the Joint EU/Africa strategy initiative, however welcomed it can be, has not taken into account the dimension of parliaments, an embodiment of the people who, after all, are the main beneficiaries of this strategy’s impact. The parliaments of the two continents were not involved in the process for the preparation of the joint strategy. Although the European Parliament adopted the first Maria Martens Report on the strategy, it was the first to point out that the views of the two parliaments had not been taken into consideration in the whole process leading up to the Outline for the joint EU/Africa strategy described above. It therefore approached the Pan-African Parliament to assert the role of parliaments, an embodiment of the people, in the joint EU/Africa strategy to be decided upon on Lisbon in December this year.
5. EP/PAP CONSULTATION PHASES
This is how a seven-member Ad Hoc Committee, in charge of relations with PAP, was appointed in 2006 within the European Parliament. Ever since, several visits have been exchanged between the European Parliament and the Pan-African Parliament:
Madam President of PAP, Hon. Amb. Dr. Gertrude I. Mongella, was invited on two occasions, in May and December 2006, to the European Parliament, while a delegation from the EP Ad Hoc Committee, headed by Hon. Kinnock and Hon. Galher, visited PAP during the 6th and the 7th Ordinary Sessions in November 2006 and May 2007, respectively. Very recently in June 2007, when Madam President of PAP attended the 13th Session of the ACP/EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in Wiesbaden, Germany, at the invitation of Mrs. Kinnock, Vice-President of the European Parliament and Co-Chairperson of that Assembly, a working meeting was held between the PAP delegation and representatives from the European Parliament Ad Hoc Committee in charge of relations with PAP.
During those meetings, the two parties, in their capacity as representatives of the people, agreed to harmonize their view-points on the joint EU/Africa strategy and to prepare a common declaration to be presented at the Lisbon Summit. The European Parliament has decided to propose a report, as well as resolutions and subsequent recommendations on the state of play of relations between the European Union and Africa. The said report [The Martens Report (the second one)], named after its author Hon. Maria Martens, was submitted to the EP Committee on Development on 10 September 2007 and will be considered by the EP House from 22 to 25 October this year.
It is the Martens Report that the delegation of the EP Ad Hoc Committee on Relations with PAP would like to submit to discussions by the two PAP/EP delegations in Midrand (South Africa) on 18-19 October 2007, during the 8th Ordinary Session of PAP. This meeting is expected to decide upon the joint PAP/EP strategy and the subsequent declaration that will be presented in Lisbon during the Africa-Europe Summit.
On the other hand, the European Parliament is suggesting that a PAP delegation should attend in Lisbon, from 7 to 9 November 2007, the convention on the development of the European Union and the workshop on the joint PAP-EP-civil-society strategy. Finally, the Ad Hoc Committee is proposing that the two PAP/EP delegations should meet a few days before the Lisbon Summit in December 2007, to finalize the joint strategy and the subsequent declaration.
To facilitate participation by the PAP delegation in all these meetings, the European Parliament delegation has committed itself to approach Mr. Louis Michel, the EU Commissioner for Development, so that he asks the mission of the European Union Commission to the African Union Commission to intervene in favour of a quick disbursement of the funds earmarked for PAP as a 55 million euro subvention from the European Union to the African Union.
Madam President of PAP has also met with Mr. Louis Michel in Wiesbaden and she sent him a letter dated 26 June 2006 on the issue. In his reply dated 29 August 2007, Mr. Louis Michel has encouraged participation by PAP and the EP at the Lisbon Summit, and has recommended that PAP should contact the Commission of the AU for the disbursement of the funds that have been earmarked for it.
To this end, a letter from Madam Gertrude Mongella, President of PAP, to H. E. Alpha Konaré, Chairperson of the Commission of the AU, dated 25 July 2007, requested an official invitation from the African Union Commission to PAP for the participation of the latter in the proceedings of the Lisbon Summit. With regard to the disbursement of funds earmarked for PAP as a 55-million euro subvention from the EU to the AU, a letter from the Clerk of PAP dated 4 September 2007 was addressed to the Chairperson of the African Union Commission to this effect.
6. AREAS FOR REFLECTION ON THE CONTRIBUTION OF PAP TOWARDS THE PREPARATION OF A JOINT EP/PAP STRATEGY
It is to be noted, and regretted, that in Africa, as well as in Europe, a parliamentary dimension was not associated to the whole process that culminated in the Outline for the joint EU/Africa strategy adopted by the African and European ministerial troika in Brussels in May this year. Yet, this draft joint strategy ultimately aims at the welfare of the peoples of the two continents. A parliamentary dimension should therefore be taken into account in the process leading to the adoption of the strategy, as well as in the follow-up of its long-term implementation.
The Pan-African Parliament should play in Africa its assigned role on the basis of the objectives that fall within its competencies as set out in the different instruments establishing the institution. Doesn’t Article 17 of the Constitutive Act of the African Union stipulate that: “In order to ensure the full participation of African peoples in the development and economic integration of the continent, a Pan-African Parliament shall be established”?
On the other hand, the Preamble of the Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community (AEC) Relating to PAP reads that “the establishment of the Pan-African Parliament is informed by a vision to provide a common platform for African peoples and the their grass-roots organizations to be involved in discussions and decision-making on the problems and challenges facing the Continent”.
The draft joint EU/Africa strategy concerns first and foremost African peoples, and the Pan-African Parliament, an embodiment of African peoples, cannot remain indifferent to the debates and preparations expected to lead to the adoption of a joint strategy between Europe and Africa. This is the reason why it readily took the opportunity offered by its European counterpart. It is therefore on the basis of a well informed decision that PAP agreed to join the EP to assert the view-points of African peoples’ representatives in the preparation of the final draft of the joint EU/Africa strategy.
Consequently, PAP appointed in November 2006 an Ad Hoc Committee composed of six MPs to be in charge of relations with the European Parliament. This Committee was mandated to prepare, in collaboration with the EP Committee, a draft joint declaration on the strategy and the partnership between the EU and the AU, a declaration that would be presented to the Governments of the two continents, which would be included in the final draft of the joint strategy and the action plan be adopted in Lisbon in December 2007.
A delegation from the European Parliament is expected to visit Midrand on 18-19 October 2007, during the 8th Ordinary Session of PAP. At the occasion, the EP delegation is set to work with its PAP counterpart to decide upon a joint position of the two parliaments regarding the joint EU/Africa strategy and its related action plan. While the position of the European Parliament, contained in the Second Martens Report - which is currently under discussion at the EP- will be known soon, this is not yet the case for PAP. Consequently, to give PAP an opportunity to make a contribution during the discussions between the two delegations in October 2007, and taking into account the very short time left, we felt it would be appropriate to suggest in this aide-memoire some areas for reflection.
However, since the two Commissions of the European Union and the African Union have been instructed and mandated by their respective Governments to negotiate on their behalf, the areas for reflection suggested here should only be seen as a contribution to the organization of this background document as it is described above.
a) General Context: why a new strategy for Africa?
First of all, PAP wants to commend those who have contributed towards the preparation of the Outline for the joint EU/Africa strategy since it has become necessary for a number of reasons. In fact, since the Cairo Declaration in 2000, substantial negative and positive changes and developments are to be noted in EU/Africa relations. The birth of the African Union and its institutions is a major change in the vision of “One Africa” that now wants to speak in “One voice”. It is therefore only normal for Europe and Africa to redefine their partnership and improve it. The African Union needs to progressively reinforce its institutions.
On the one hand, the European Union has also changed. If nothing else, it has doubled the number of its members. Finally, the world has evolved and it is now faced with many global challenges and problems.
Yet, some things have not changed. One part of Africa is still living in the most abject poverty and insecurity. The terms of trade have not changed; debt is rife; prices of commodities are still determined by buyers; natural resources are exploited without transparency; corruption is widespread; management of public affairs is not transparent; the environment is degraded; inter-nation and inter-tribal conflicts persist, causing major migration influxes in Africa and beyond, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is behind schedule.
It is very clear therefore that the adoption of a new set of measures is imperative, as is a more comprehensive approach than in the past, one that is not only focussed on traditional aid to development, but also on other new domains that can influence African development.
b) Principles, objectives and visions on which the strategy should be based
A new strategy should rest on a set of common values, objectives and visions.
• On values
PAP agrees with a number of the cardinal values underpinning the Outline for the joint EU/Africa strategy. These values are as follows:
- adherence to the rule of law;
- reinforcement of representative and participatory democracy;
- respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms;
- good management of public affairs and popular participation in governance;
- international peace and security;
- political stability and trust amongst nations.
However, it should be recognized that while these values are provided for in African regulatory frameworks (the Constitutive Act and other protocols), they are also behind schedule to translate into concrete advantages for African peoples. It is therefore a challenge that the joint EU/Africa strategy should address.
In view of this situation, PAP feels that ways and means should be identified to instil and permanently sustain common African values and aspirations. Consequently, the joint EU/Africa strategy should encourage African countries to adopt measures with a potential to translate these noble values into benefits for their populations. PAP urges European partners to invite African Heads of State to be vigilant in the promotion of a culture of good governance and respect for human rights.
In this regard, the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) is a precious tool to facilitate the sharing of best practices in governance by African countries. All African countries should be reviewed by this mechanism.
• On objectives of strategic interest
On the whole, PAP agrees with the four objectives identified by the Outline for the joint EU/Africa strategy for future partnership:
- EU/Africa political partnership, focussing on “common challenges such as peace and security, migration and clean environment”;
- Ongoing promotion of “peace, security, sustainable development, human rights, and regional and continental integration of Africa”;
- Addressing global challenges such as “human rights, trade, HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, climate change, energy, ICT issues, science and technology, infrastructure, terrorism, etc.”’
- People-centred partnership empowering non-state institutions and bringing in all actors.
PAP has a direct interest in all the above-mentioned strategic issues and its ten permanent committees have specific mandates related to the issues identified in the strategic objectives. The joint EU/Africa strategy should therefore include the following positions of PAP concerning the major guidelines defined by the European and African ministerial troika.
i) Peace and security
PAP is deeply concerned by the prevalence of armed conflicts in Africa, the causes of which are mainly the following, among others:
- absence of social and economic justice;
- exclusion from political and economic governance;
- political bigotry;
- poor organization of elections;
- amendments to constitutions;
- lack of visionary leadership;
- corruption and impunity;
- proliferation of light weapons;
- colonial heritage related to delimitation of borders;
- interference of external player in African affairs;
As it recognizes the efforts of the African Union, the United Nations and the International Community to find solutions for armed conflicts in Africa, PAP suggests that the joint EU/Africa strategy should:
- build the capacity of all the organs of the AU so that they can play an effective role for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts in Africa;
- encourage all African states to sign, respect and implement all AU instruments on peace, security and good governance, especially the OUA Declaration on unconstitutional changes of government, the Conference on Security, Stability, Development and Cooperation in Africa, the Darfur Declaration on democracy, good political, economic and business governance, and the African Charter on democracy, to cite just a few;
- encourage all parties to different peace accords to respect the spirit and letter of such accords;
- request European states to limit sales of light weapons and small arms to African states, and ultimately stop such sales altogether.
ii) On economic growth and trade
The Outline for the joint EU/Africa strategy recognizes that only sustainable economic growth will allow African countries to promote long-term development and gradually pull out of poverty.
PAP is in agreement with this vision but it also feels that such vision should translate into concrete proposals and actions to foster growth. It therefore recommends that the joint EU/Africa strategy should prescribe the following actions, among others:
- reduction of the African debt by European countries;
- transparency in the exploitation of African natural resources;
- promotion of small and medium enterprises;
- direct European investment;
- accrued entitlements to property;
- reduction in administrative charges shouldered by business managers;
- creation of local industries;
- removal of trade barriers preventing African products to enter African countries, on the one hand, and European countries, on the other;
- rationalization and harmonization of African Regional Economic Communities;
- rapid integration of NEPAD into programmes and processes of the African Union;
- effective establishment of the AU financial institutions, notably the Central Bank, the African Monetary Fund and the African Investment Bank.
iii) Education and health
PAP agrees with the Outline for the joint EU/Africa strategy as it provides for efforts to be intensified in the areas of health and basic education, both within the framework of EU/Africa partnership and in African countries. Furthermore, as expressed in the Martens Report, PAP also feels that health and education should benefit from an important share of community funds.
The joint strategy should allow the following concrete actions to be carried out in the indicated domains:
- to make school attendance mandatory for all up to specific age;
- to provide girls with useful education in their childhood, especially in rural communities;
- to promote education programmes for adults;
- to improve working conditions for teachers;
- to facilitate education for children in conflict zones;
- to promote research and African languages;
- to mainstream HIV/AIDS into school programmes;
- to carry out awareness campaigns for the eradication of diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, etc.
iv) On migration
PAP welcomes the intention expressed in the Outline for the joint EU/Africa strategy to take advantage of the partnership to better manage the migration phenomenon “in a spirit of shared responsibility and cooperation”.
For its part, PAP recognizes that migration is caused by political, economic, cultural, religious and natural factors such as poor governance, lack of investment, religious intolerance or natural disasters. PAP suggests therefore that the joint EU/Africa strategy should:
- encourage the pursuit of discussions on migration issues initiated in Italy in 2006 between Africa and Europe;
- encourage investment across the continent to create employment and thereby limit migration influxes;
- facilitate the completion of global agreements on management and protection of migrants;
- encourage intra-African cooperation to fight exploitation of illegal migrants and trafficking in women and children;
- encourage harmonization of national and regional laws on migration with a view to maximizing the positive aspects of migration for development;
- build the capacity of national and regional institutions responsible for migration management.
v) On sustainable development, the environment and climate change
PAP applauds the willingness expressed in the Outline for the joint EU/Africa strategy to unite efforts and “address global environmental challenges such as desertification, biodiversity degradation and hazardous-waste-related issues”. PAP feels, for its part, that such willingness should translate into concrete measures to be included in the final strategy and action plan. It therefore recommends that the following measures should be made part of the strategy and the action plan:
• On the fight against desertification
- appropriate provision in national budgets to fight desertification and poverty;
- ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by countries that have not done so as yet;
- bigger investment into research on and follow-up of the desertification phenomenon, and increased synergy among scientists to better value outcomes of their research;
- increased regional, continental and international cooperation for the implementation of the Convention on desertification through allocation of sufficient financial resources aimed at fighting desertification, notably at the level of the Global Environment Fund (GEF).
• On toxic waste
Strict and effective enforcement of international conventions on the import of hazardous products and toxic waste in Africa, notably:
- the Bale Convention on the control of transboundary movement of toxic wastes and their disposal and the ban on any dumping of dangerous wastes in third countries;
- the Convention on the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, as amended by its 1978 Protocol (the 1973/1978 MARPOL Protocol);
- The Lomé IV and Bamako Conventions banning the export of dangerous or toxic wastes towards ACP countries from the European Union.
• On climate change
- Rational exploitation and use of energy resources;
- Development of alternative sources of energy, such as solar power;
- Awareness and education campaigns for populations on the damaging consequences of global warming and the dangers of increased scarcity of forest and water resources;
- Reduction in greenhouse effect by strictly adhering to the Kyoto Protocol;
- Obligation of previous environment impact assessment before executing investment projects.
In conclusion, PAP agrees on the whole with the observations and proposals contained in the Martens Report on the state of play of relations between the European Union and Africa. Nevertheless, it wanted to make its own contribution taking into account the specificities of Africa and experience accumulated on the ground over its three years of existence. It is to be hoped that this contribution will enrich the debates between the two delegations on 18-19 October 2007 in Midrand, leading up to the adoption of a final document that will take into consideration the concerns of each party.