AU-EU Summit: state leaders fail to deliver despite good intentions
The high-level 5th African Union – European Union Summit finished yesterday in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. The main focus of the Summit was Investing in Youth and even more promising was the slogan of the summit “Together for Youth, with Youth”. But despite the good intentions, the state leaders failed to deliver.
The Summit kicked off well. At the opening Anna Widegren, Secretary General of the European Youth Forum, and the President of the Pan-African Youth Union, Francine Muyumba addressed state leaders from the two continents.
It should be noted, that this grand moment for European and Pan-African youth did not happen without a battle. Until the very last minute, the speaking slot was endangered – which ultimately would have excluded youth representatives entirely in the opening. While youth voices were eventually included in discussions, other civil society actors were notably excluded.
The attention of the Summit shifted from ‘investing in youth’ to issues surrounding migration and the current situation in Libya – completely ignoring the vital connection to sustainable development and instead focusing on short-term solutions. By doing so the state leaders ran away from a golden opportunity to find concrete solutions for the future of the Africa-EU Partnership.
Anna Widegren, Secretary General of the European Youth Forum said:
“We need every European and African country to turn the Youth Summit Declaration into concrete actions that will improve the lives of young people in both continents. This can only happen through meaningful involvement of African and European youth civil society.”
Notes to editors
In October, young people from Africa and Europe gathered in Abidjan for the Africa-Europe Youth Summit. European Youth Forum was the lead implementer of the Summit. At the Youth Summit, the delegates developed the so-called Abidjan Declaration.