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EU's Africa foreign policy after Lisbon

18 October 2011

The conference took place in Brussels on the 18 October 2011 and was organised within the framework of the Observatoire de l’Afrique by the EUISS in collaboration with Chatham House, Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) and the Open Society Foundations (OSF). The conference analysed the working modes of EU foreign policy actors in Africa and discussed the conditions required for improving the efficiency of EU policy setting and implementation in Africa in the post-Lisbon context. Participants included officials, field practitioners, experts and academics from across the EU and Africa. The conference opened with a keynote address by Dr Nicholas Westcott, Managing Director for Africa of the EEAS who set out the strategic framework of the EU’s Africa foreign policy. Both geographical (country-focused) and thematic case studies were addressed. Sessions included discussions on EU regional strategies such as the Sahel strategy, and on EU crisis management policies. The relationships between the EU and major African countries such as Nigeria, South Africa and Ethiopia were also addressed, as was the record of EU democratisation efforts in countries such as Zimbabwe, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Panellists outlined key challenges for the EU action in Africa: the definition of common interests, coordination issues, and the complex and volatile environment which demands greater flexibility from EU policies. It was also suggested that the EU should reflect more systematically and learn from past lessons in order to enhance the coherence of its foreign policy in Africa.