Local and regional governments stay mobilised ahead of the European Union-African Union Summit
Despite the postponement of the European Union-African Union Summit to 2021, PLATFORMA and CEMR, together with the other signatories of Framework Partnership Agreements (FPAs), gathered a group of EU-AU local and regional government elected champions. Next year, fot the first time, a Forum of local leaders will be fully integrated in the programme of the EU-AU Summit. A first technical meeting took place yesterday (15 December) with their “Sherpas” and representatives of the European Commission (DG DEVCO) and the European External Action Service (EEAS).
“Even if the Summit and Forum are postponed to 2021, we need to stay mobilised and work together”, said Frédéric Vallier, Secretary General of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), lead partner of PLATFORMA, at the opening of the meeting.
To ensure a common voice of local and regional governments at the forthcoming EU-Africa Summit, the four other signatories of the Framework Partnership Agreements (FPAs) are fully involved in the process this year. These are the International Association of Francophone Mayors (AIMF), the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF), United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and United Cities and Local Governments Africa (UCLG Africa).
Those were respectively represented by Laurent Jaboeuf, Greg Munro, Emilia Saiz and Jean-Pierre Elong Mbassi.
This meeting gave a first opportunity to the local and regional champions and their “sherpas” to exchange on how to work together ahead of the Summit, and also with representatives from the European institutions, in charge of organising the Summit on behalf of the EU. Rune Skinnebach, EEAS Deputy Head of Unit for Pan-African Affairs, and Paul Renier, Deputy Head of Unit for Strategic Partnerships EU-ACP and EU-African Union in the European Commission’s DG DEVCO (Unit D3) responded present and answered openly to the participants’ questions.
“We are natural partners by history, geography and culture; our partnership is built on shared commitments”, said Mr Skinnebach (EEAS). “Local actors are and will continue to be key partners for the construction of EU-AU relations – they are in frontline to help face the key challenges today,” he added.
“We have to take the opportunity of this postponement to continue and further deepen dialogue”, added Mr Renier (DG DEVCO). He welcomed the nomination of “local champions from both sides, EU and Africa.”
10 local and regional champions have already been nominated:
– Ivone Aki-Sawyerr, Mayor of Freetown (Sierra Leon)
– Stefano Bonaccini, President of the Emilia-Romagna Region (Italy) and President of CEMR
– Mohammed Boudra, Mayor of Al Hoceima (Morocco) and President of UCLG
– Soham El Wardini, Mayor of Dakar (Senegal)
– Carola Gunnarsson, Lord Mayor of Sala (Sweden), CEMR Spokesperson for International Affairs and UCLG Vice-President
– Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris and President of AIMF
– Thembisile Nkadimeng, President of SALGA, Co-President of UCLG
– Cllr Rev Mpho MW Moruakgomo, Chairperson of CLGF
– José Manuel Ribeiro, Mayor of Valongo (Portugal)
– Innocent Uwimana, President of the Rwandan Association of Local Government Authorities (RALGA)
This list will continue to grow in 2021.
Representative of the African Union were invited to this meeting but could not attend.
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