EU-Africa summit to take place in December in Lisbon

12 March 2007

Brussels, Belgium, 12 March – The European Union-Africa summit is scheduled to be held in Lisbon in December during the Portuguese presidency of the European Union, German chancellor Angela Merkel said in Brussels Friday.

Merkel, who was speaking at a press conference at the end of the European Spring Summit said that Germany would prepare for the meeting with Portugal, “in an intense manner.”

The leaders of the 27 EU member countries, who met in Brussels, Friday reaffirmed their interest in holding the 2nd Summit with the African Union, in 2007.

A second high-level meeting between Europeans and Africans was set for 2003, but did not go ahead due to opposition from some European countries, namely the United Kingdom, about the presence of Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe at the summit, as he is accused of violating human rights and is subject to EU sanctions.

This obstacle has yet to be overcome as Mugabe is banned from traveling to Europe due to sanctions applied by the EU to his regime, and the African Union has insisted that all its member state be allowed to take part.

One possible solution is for Zimbabwe to send a ministerial mission to the meeting.

Another solution could be for the EU to open up an exception to the sanction, thus allowing Mugabe to travel to Lisbon, similarly to what happened at the funeral of Pope John Paul II, in Rome. (macauhub)