EU-AU Relations: The Partnership on Democratic Governance and Human Rights of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy

The Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES), now in its second three-year Action Plan, has the potential to enhance the Africa-EU strategic partnership but has yet to deliver.

The Open Society Institute-Brussels has taken stock of JAES progress in the policy area of democracy and human rights. This paper presents two main conclusions: significant involvement of civil society in the process is still hampered by the overlap of several institutional cultures and structural limitations; and the encounter of two distinct continental approaches to issues of democracy and human rights requires long-term commitment and adaptation on all sides if there is to be real progress.

The strategy is in hibernation and the intended paradigm shift—to fundamentally alter European and African relations—has not really taken place. This paper develops a series of recommendations to address this inertia. These include a more political rather than technocratic approach to the partnership; improvements of information flows, outreach and transparency; independent assessments and monitoring of action plans; and closer attention to donor accountability.

The full paper is available for download.