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EU and Africa: a fragile partnership?

Flight and migration put the European-African relations to the test – HSFK-Standpunkt by Antonia Witt & Lydia Both

Der Afrika-EU-Gipfel in Valletta, Malta im November 2015 (Photo: picture alliance/NurPhoto)

Der Afrika-EU-Gipfel in Valletta, Malta im November 2015 (Photo: picture alliance/NurPhoto)

Only a small percentage of asylum applications made in the EU in 2016 comes from African countries of origin, but the EU continues to restrict its migration and refugee policies towards sub-Saharan Africa and increasingly aims to cooperate with African States and the African Union.

The Valletta summit on migration, held in November 2015 between the EU and African state officials, is proof of the attempt to determine such a common approach. But more than agreeing upon how to regulate flight and migration, the summit reveals conflicting interests among European and African governments: Whereas migration to Europe also provides a development opportunity for African states, the EU perceives migration as a problem that needs to be addressed. 

In the latest HSFK Standpunkt “Partnerschaft auf tönernen Füßen. Flucht und Migration stellen die europäisch-afrikanischen Beziehungen auf die ProbeAntonia Witt und Lydia Both trace these divergend perceptions of migration and place them in historical contexts. They argue that Africa has to cope with flight and migration in more challenging dimensions than Europe in these days, so African criticism of the EU’s approach seems justified. The authors show what is really needed for a mutually beneficial partnership between Europe and Africa: clear positioning and a more inclusive debate on flight and migration.

Download (pdf, 864kb): Antonia Witt, Lydia Both: “Partnschaft auf tönernen Füßen, Flucht und Migration stellen die europäisch-afrikanischen Beziehungen auf die Probe”, HSFK-Standpunkt. (German only)

Lydia Both studies International Relations/ Peace and Conflict Studies at Goethe-University Frankfurt and analyzed the cooperation between EU and AU regarding migration in her master thesis.