The European Business Council for Africa

President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and President of the European Council, Charles Michel, represented the EU at the 15th G20 Leaders' summit hosted by Saudi Arabia on 21-22 November 2020.

G20 leaders met in virtual format to address the way forward how to tackle together the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, finance the development and deployment of a vaccine as well as continue the support to citizens and businesses struggling to cope with the aftermath of the pandemic.

President von der Leyen said: “I am glad that G20 leaders agreed to make Covid-19 vaccines available and affordable for all. But more funding is needed. This is why I called G20 Leaders to commit to fund 4.5 billion US dollars for the ACT-Accelerator by the end of the year. G20 leaders also agreed to maintain economic measures until the recovery is firmly on the way. As a lesson from the crisis we need to step up global preparedness. We will discuss this again in May 2021 at the joint G20 Global Health Summit in Italy. To build back a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient world we also need to step up actions to fight climate change. The EU leads the way to climate neutrality by 2050 and many G20 partners now have taken the same commitments.”

The German presidency of the Council today reached a political agreement with the European Parliament’s negotiators in talks aimed at securing the Parliament's consent to the next multiannual financial framework, the EU’s long-term budget.

The agreement has been reached following intensive consultations with the Parliament and the Commission that have been underway since the end of August. It complements the comprehensive financial package of €1 824.3 billion negotiated by EU leaders in July, which combines the next multiannual financial framework – €1 074.3 billion – and a €750 billion temporary recovery instrument, Next Generation EU (in 2018 prices).

On 12 November, President Charles Michel sent out the fourth issue of his newsletter, in which he informs citizens about the activities of the European Council. This time the President focuses on promoting our values and fighting terrorism.

There are two battles that must be fought. A battle of values, to defend and promote our freedoms... and a merciless operational battle against violent extremism, whether Islamist or otherwise.

President Charles Michel

The newsletter is issued on a regular basis in English and French. It is available to all users subscribed to European Council alerts. Every issue contains a summary of President Michel's latest activities.

  • Promoting a fisheries policy that fosters sustainable exploitation of fishery resources in the region 

  • Ensuring EU vessels can continue to access Senegalese waters

MEPs gave their consent to concluding a renewed protocol offering opportunities to French, Spanish and Portuguese fishermen.

The text was approved with 524 votes in favour, 47 against and 115 abstentions.

Negotiations for a new five-year protocol began on 19 July 2019, and the agreed Sustainable Fisheries Partnership has applied provisionally since it was signed on 18 November 2019.

The past year has taught us how crucially important health is for each and every one of us.

It has shown us how fragile our societies are and how fast everything can be turned upside down by something so small that it is invisible to the naked eye.

It has taught us that health is a precondition for our societies and economies to function.

And it has reminded us of the value of solidarity and cooperation, and being united in diversity to overcome the biggest health crisis in modern times.

The health situation in one Member State is contingent on that of others. To minimise the negative impacts on people and business, we have to work together to address health threats.

The Tanzanian National Electoral Commission and Zanzibar Electoral Commission have declared the results of the elections.  

Election day was well organised and peaceful in many parts of the country. Nonetheless, the European Union (EU) notes with regret the disruption of social media  before, on and after election day, claims of opposition candidates that they did not benefit from a level playing field during the electoral process, as well as the limited possibilities for electoral observation. Reports of irregularities in some districts are also raising concern. These serious allegations have an impact on the transparency and overall credibility of the process. They should be processed through legal means of redress.

In Zanzibar, tensions were reported, with deadly violence, including allegations of excessive use of force by State organs. The EU hopes that it will be possible to lay the foundation for a sustainable reconciliation between all stakeholders, in order to contribute to long-lasting peace and stability in the archipelago.

The EU encourages an open, constructive and inclusive dialogue between the Government of Tanzania, opposition political parties and civil society, and recognises peaceful expressions of opinions as essential to multi-party democracy and civic freedoms.

The EU’s relationship with Africa is a key priority for the new Commission, which launched earlier this year the basis for a new strategy with Africa. In his first video blog (“vlog”), HR/VP Josep Borrell elaborates on this and reflects on EU-Africa relations - following the European Council’s recent discussion on this subject.

The vlog focuses on five key topics: 1) The EU-Africa partnership and why it is important, 2) The impact of the coronavirus and how the EU and Africa cooperate on combatting the Covid-19 pandemic, 3) How to manage the partnership in practice, 4) The relationship with view to migration, 5) The implications of the EU Green Deal for EU-African relations.

In answering these questions, HR/VP Borrell underlines that the EU has to be ambitious, but realistic, should be clear about its interests, and that it is crucial to be concrete and visible to achieve results.

In addition to the written blog posts, the HR/VP’s personal Blog A Window on the World will as of now feature regularly vlogs on pertinent EU foreign policy issues presenting his view.

On 26 October 2020, the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (AU PSC) and the European Union (EU) Political and Security Committee (EU PSC) held their 12th Annual Joint Consultative Meeting, virtually, as part of their regular dialogue within the framework of Article 17 of the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, and the AU – EU partnership. The meeting was co-chaired by H.E. Ambassador Osama Abdelkhalek, Permanent Representative of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the AU and Chairperson of the AUPSC for October 2020 and H.E. Ambassador Sofie From- Emmesberger, Permanent Chair of the EU PSC.

The discussion during the 12th Joint Consultative Meeting focused on the situations in the Sahel region, Sudan and Somalia. The AU PSC and the EU PSC noted that October 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325. While much progress has been made with regards to women’s inclusion in peace processes, further efforts are required to advance implementation. […]

"Last week, together with Commissioner Janez Lenarčič, I travelled to hand-over anti-COVID-19 material to the African Union Centre for Disease Control; to discuss with our African Union counterparts how to strengthen the EU-AU partnership in a post-pandemic world; and to underscore our support for the on-going reforms in Ethiopia, at a difficult moment. Upon arrival, we participated in the hand-over of coronavirus testing kits to the African Union Centre for Disease Control. We delivered 7,5 tons of essential medical and humanitarian equipment and 900,000 coronavirus kits that will be distributed on the entire continent. We met with Moussa Faki, Chairperson of the African Union, Smaïl Chergui, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security and with Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Gedu Andargachew."

Josep Borell  […] 

Europe must shape its own destiny. The opportunities offered by the green and digital transitions, supported by the exceptional recovery package agreed in July, are formidable tools to help transform our economies. An innovative and resilient EU will make us a strong global player.

To pursue those objectives and to push ahead with
the Strategic Agenda, the President puts forward an ambitious European Council agenda covering the
key challenges confronting the Union. This is a living document that will be updated as circumstances require.

Well-prepared, strategic discussions in the European Council will enable us to deepen our understanding of our shared interests and widen our strategic consensus. This will in turn contribute to the effective and uniform implementation of our collective decisions. Where no immediate conclusions are drawn, the outcome of the debates will be reflected in later conclusions.[…]