EU – Africa relations and future challenges: Closing the gap between rhetoric and reality?

University of Florence – Building D 15, room 004, Polo di Novoli

Festival d’Europa Photo Gallery







Over the past two centuries, Africa played a very important role for Europe and vice versa; albeit for different reasons, this will be the case for the coming decades. The European Union and its Member States can hardly ignore this continent: not only is it just across the Mediterranean sea, but it has – and will continue to have – the youngest demographic profile in the world, while European population is increasingly ageing and diminishing in size. The recent migratory crisis shows blatantly that what happens in apparently remote areas of sub-Saharan Africa can have an impact on European domestic politics, by influencing partisan competition, and triggering new dividing lines in our political systems. Furthermore, like in the case of the Ebola pandemic, geopolitical turmoil taking place somewhere in the Horn of Africa or in Central Africa cannot be easily sealed-off. In an increasingly interdependent world, the future of European democracy also depends on how we interact with countries outside of Europe and Africa – let us not forget it – is a very close neighbor. Against this backdrop, the workshop intends to discuss recent developments in four major policy areas that appear crucial for the future of EU-Africa relations, particularly for the political implications at the supra national, and the national levels of government. The four areas are security, migration, trade and cooperation development. In addressing the main issues that are at stake in each of these fields the core question that needs to be investigated is the following: is the EU effectively pursuing a forward-looking strategy aimed at establishing a mutually reinforcing partnership, as reflected in the official discourse? Or, has the EU been trapped – in spite of its commitments – in a backward looking strategy, that still reflects the asymmetrical relations typical of colonial times, and inadvertently favors the position of emerging illiberal powers?

Opening Address | 9:15-9:30
Fulvio Conti, Dean of the School of Political Science, University of Florence
Laura Leonardi, Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence

Panel 1 | 9:30-11.30
The EU and Conflict Resolution in Africa
Chair: Marco Mayer, LUISS University, Rome

Federica Bicchi, Robert Schuman Centre, EUI
Daniela Irrera, University of Catania
Lorenzo Angelini, European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (EPLO)
Reuben Joseph Babatunde Lewis, School Transnational of Governance, EUI

Coffee break | 11.30-12:00

Panel 2 | 12:00-13:30
The EU and the migratory conundrum
Chair: Gustavo De Santis, University of Florence

Martin Ruhs, Deputy Director Migration Policy Centre, EUI
Mauro Lanati, Migration Policy Centre, EUI
Andrea Stocchiero, Centro Studi di Politica Internazionale and FOCSIV

Lunch | 13:30-14:30

Keynote Speech 14:30- 15:00
” Towards a Europe – Africa Alliance”
Stefano Manservisi, Director-General , DG DEVCO

Panel 3 | 15:00-16:30
European Development Cooperation at cross-roads: past achievements and future opportunities
Chair: Maria Stella Rognoni, University of Florence

Valeria Fargion, University of Florence
Tanya Cox, Director, CONCORD Europe
Niels Keijzer, German Development Institute

Coffee Break | 16:30-17:00

Panel 4 | 17:00- 18:30
EU trade policy and African economic development: a contested nexus.
Chair: Jean Leonard Touadi, Senior Advisor FAO, Partnership Division

John Akokpari, Department of Political Studies, University of Cape Town
Giorgia Giovannetti, School of Economics, University of Florence and EUI
Thilo Bodenstein, Central European University

Closing Keynote Speech | 18:30-19:00
The Prospects for Democracy in Africa
Mamoudou Gazebo, University of Montreal

ContactValeria Fargion, Department of Political and Social Sciences and Jean Monnet Chair, University of Florence