The Next Generation of Africa Europe Relations, with Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen

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The Next Generation of Africa-Europe Relations - The ‘Debating Africa-EU’ series with Jutta Urpilainen, European Commissioner for International Partnerships


As Africa and Europe seek to re-set their partnership, Friends of Europe is engaging with its partners across both continents about the long-term vision, as well as the diverging and converging issues at the heart of this established cooperation. Africa and Europe have a shared interest in accelerating work on the global agenda for sustainable development and facing together a climate emergency. The Covid-19 crisis is exposing the lack of resilience on the fundamentals of life (water, food, health, energy) and the urgency to rethink our common future as Africa and Europe.

Through its “Debating Africa-EU” series, Friends of Europe is focused on engaging its partners and the new EU College of Commissioners around their vision and priorities for EU-Africa cooperation. The series has been timed to take place in the run-up to the EU-Africa Union Summit 2020. The first in this series takes place on 30th June with the European Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, and Aya Chebbi, African Union Youth Envoy with a strategic focus on how to “reset Africa-Europe relations”.

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The Next Generation of Africa Europe Relations
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Before the dawn of COVID-19, a new chapter of Africa-Europe cooperation was at the top of the agenda in 2020 with both continents on the cusp of major political and economic shifts marked by the African Continental Free Trade Area, the post-Cotonou Agreement, the EU’s new leadership and multi-annual budget. In March, the EU outlined a long-awaited new Africa strategy with ambition of forging a “partnership of equals” and crafting a new relationship in the face of common challenges. The Covid-19 pandemic and the global climate crisis have made it even more imperative that both continents act urgently to tackle both the common challenges and the shared opportunities that lie ahead.

  • Does the current crisis provide an opportunity to rethink our common future to transform this historic relationship into a genuine model of international partnership?
  • What are the converging and diverging issues at the heart of an Africa-Europe partnership and what does resetting relations look like in practice?
  • How can we open up space to youth and civil society to help shape the future partnership and drive a green and just recovery in the face of an economic crisis on both continents


Jutta Urpilainen

European Commissioner for International Partnerships


Dharmendra Kanani

Chief Operating Officer and Chief Spokesperson of Friends of Europe

End of the debate


Dharmendra Kanani
Dharmendra Kanani

Chief Operating Officer and Chief Spokesperson of Friends of Europe

Show more information on Dharmendra Kanani

Prior to joining Friends of Europe, Dharmendra Kanani was director of policy at the European Foundation Centre (EFC). He was the England director at the Big Lottery Fund, the largest independent funder in the UK and fourth largest in the world. Dharmendra has held senior positions in the public and voluntary sectors and advisor to numerous ministerial policy initiatives across the UK.



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