EU - Africa Summit
22 December 2007, adapted from Johara Boukabous, CafeBabel

The second EU-Africa Summit took place on 8-9 December in Portugal, after an interval of seven years. Despite some palpable tensions, in particular about Economical Partnership Agreements (EPA) rejected by the African Union, the second summit between the two continents aims to be the starting point of a new collaboration.

As equals
A declaration was adopted during the closing of the summit. It determines the rules of the partnership “as equals” between the two sides of the Mediterranean. Alpha Oumar Konaré, AU Commission Chairman, declared to the radio RFI: “It is important to avoid schemes from another time and contrary to the African legitimate choices.” Africa is indeed more and more courted and Europe had to clarify their relation. Even if EU remains Africa ’s first economical partner, China is hot on its heels. EU’s commercial deficit has doubled in six years and reaches now 35 billions of dollars. Bruxelles counts on Africa to supply it with raw material: coal in South Africa, Libya and Algeria for hydrocarbons. As for Africa, it imports manufactured products such as cars, machines or chemical products from the old continent. Africa owns 40% of the European exportations ...

To attract the most skilled workers
Furthermore, a calendar has been established to continue the negotiations about the EPA. President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal confirmed it to the south-African news-paper Mail & Guardian: “We plan to meet again to determine what will replace these agreements. I still agree with the will to create a new kind of partnership.” Eight lines have been fixed by the year 2010 particularly concerning immigration. The EU needs indeed 20 millions of extra-community immigrants by the year 2028. Moreover, a project of “blue card resident permit” is being elaborated to attract the most skilled workers.