EU Africa Foreign Policy After Lisbon

Europe’s representation in Africa is being reinvented in the post-Lisbon environment. The institutional innovations, the European External Action Service in particular, will have both a deep and long-term impact on the EU’s relations with the African continent.

The period 2011–2012 presents Africa with important challenges in terms of democratic transition and/or consolidation. Major countries will hold elections (Nigeria, Sudan, DRC, Senegal) and the potential knock-on effects of recent transformations in North Africa and the Middle East should not be underestimated.

Recent events in Côte d’Ivoire demonstrate the fragility of “post-conflict” situations, despite strong international–and EU–support for democratic change. Key security issues are still undermining continental stability, while being directly linked to EU security interests. At the same time Africa’s geopolitical importance is increasing as indicated by the growing engagement with the continent from powers like Brazil, India and China.

Within this context, the EU’s reformed institutions are likely to set a new agenda for the EU’s Africa Foreign Policy, as well as rejuvenate intercontinental dialogue.

The conference will address the following questions:

  • How has EU engaged Africa in the post-Lisbon context?
  • How are EU regional strategies designed and implemented in a post-Lisbon environment?
  • Will the EU increasingly speak with one voice in Africa and will policy coherence towards the continent be enhanced?

Expert speakers will address these questions by reviewing the EU’s operational modalities and actors’ initiatives through geographical and thematic case studies. Cross cutting issues will include:

  • EU coordination both at inter-institutional level and between Brussels HQ and country delegations
  • The articulation of Member States' priorities and interests within EEAS policies
  • The relevance of regional (AU) and sub-regional (RECs) frameworks for EU Africa foreign policy
  • EU's engagement with other international actors (the US, BRICs, Canada and Turkey) and multilateral organizations (UN, Arab League, OIC, inter alia).

The conference is co-organized by Istituto Affari Internazionali, Chatham House, the European Union Institute for Security Studies and the Open Society Institute–Brussels. Speakers include institutional representatives, academic researchers and field analysts. The Open Society Foundations will contribute views from Kenya, Ivory Coast, and Brussels.

View the full program.

Date: October 18, 2011
Time: 7:00 p.m.

Open Society Institute-Brussels