The entire atmosphere of Europe is presently charged with the fever of the upcoming European Parliamentary elections. Truly, the elections hold a lot of stakes! It is not just the preference of a political party or a candidate based on sentiments; it is an economic, environmental, ethical impetus for Europe. Also, it is a choice for the relations between the EU and the developing countries of the South. The coming elections are once more a defining moment for the EU, an opportunity to change the course of history by plotting a new trajectory or be carried away by the bandwagon effect of the aggressive economic orientations of China and the USA. That is why the AEFJN calls for discernments in these troubled times for Europe and the global community to pave the way for a more value based elections.

For obvious reasons, the inconclusive BREXIT will remain a distraction for the European Union, but it cannot completely derail the direction of the EU. It is important that the EU reviews her economic relation with Africa to make it more productive for the people and planet. It is an imperative that needs men and women Parliamentarians who think outside the rigid box of European nationalism.   As it is, Africa is growing in importance as a global focus not because Africa is getting a just share of the global wealth, but it holds enormous amounts of potential for the global powers. Even though the EU is still a big voice in international politics, the statistics shows that the EU has been displaced by other nations with contending trade interests in the African continent.

According to the recent updates, the UN has predicted that by 2025, there will be more Africans on the surface of the earth than the Chinese. In the same vein, the Economist reports that within a space of 6 years, more 320 embassies were opened in Africa[1]. This unprecedented level of diplomacy is a good indicator of the new interests in Africa. Furthermore, the Economist reports that the three biggest trading partners with Africa now are China, India and America and the same is true for FDI in Africa[2].

Obviously, the EU is gradually being edged out from the African economy, but it cannot be shielded from the outcomes. Although it is true that the EU has not utilized her golden opportunity to pave the way for the industrialization of Africa, there is no evidence that the new interests in Africa have something better to offer Africa. Your guess as to the immediate destination in the search for greener pasture is as good as mine. Europe is Africa’s immediate neighbor and must, therefore, be more proactive in what concerns Africa and prevent whatever that could destabilize Africa. By a proximity effect, Europe will fill the impact of whatever happens in Africa before China, America or India.

So, AEFJN once more draws attention to the new ACP-EU negotiations in the buildup of the elections. Our attention has been drawn to the just concluded second round of the negotiations. The foundation of future co-operation between them is now laid, but it is yet to be seen how this foundational principle will concretely promote the foreseen democratic values of solidarity, sustainable industrialization, social cohesion and other social values in each of the three groups of ACP.

The EU has observed through this negotiating period an outstanding benefit of the partnership for herself and the ACP. In the words of the EU, “if it joins forces with the ACP, it can form a majority worldwide, as the EU and ACP countries represent more than half of the UN membership. The benefit of allying at this level is that together, the EU and ACP can make a difference and set a global agenda in international forums.

While AEFJN commends the salient observation of the EU, she is ambivalent about the ‘if you cannot beat them, joint them’ initiative of Emmanuel Macron in response to the aggressive business initiatives of America and China in Africa. AEFJN fears that the new ACP-EU partnership will remain a smokescreen to the shadow thrust of the status quo through Emmanuel Macron.

Meanwhile, AEFJN follows the elections, and the negotiations with keen interest and cautions that the quality opportunity which the coming elections offer must not be left to chance or a few people as the EU advances against other giants in her relationships with Africa

[1] The Economist, ‘March 9th-15th 2019

[2] ibid