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The Delegation for relations with the Pan-African Parliament (DPAP)

The European Parliament established a delegation to work with the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) soon after the PAP held its inaugural session, in 2004.

Initially, the European Parliament's delegation was an ad hoc body. Constituted in 2006, this group of MEPs rapidly engaged with the burgeoning African parliament.

In May 2009, at the close of the European Parliament's sixth legislature (2004-2009), the Parliament created a "standing" (permanent) Delegation for relations with the Pan-African Parliament, abbreviated as DPAP.

The Delegation's constitutive meeting was held on 29 September 2009, as incoming MEPs opened the European Parliament's seventh legislature (2009-2014).

Michael Gahler, a German member of the European People's Party (EPP) Group, was elected Chair of the Delegation by acclamation. In October 2014 he was re-elected Chair during the eighth legislature (2014-2019).

The Pan-African Parliament (PAP)

As the parliamentary arm of the African Union - the intergovernmental organisation that includes 55 African countries - the PAP is a young and diverse legislature. Its first session was held in 2004, just three years after the African Union was established.

Each African Union country that has ratified the Protocol to the Constitutive Act of the AU relating to the PAP contributes five members to the PAP, and at least one of the five must be a woman.

For now, the PAP plays an advisory role for the African Union, although this is likely to change: at its June 2014 summit in Malabo, the African Union gave the PAP certain legislative powers and reviewed its composition. However, this new Protocol must be signed, ratified and incorporated into 28 states' national legislation before it comes into force.

Inter-parliamentary meetings

Members of the DPAP and counterparts from the PAP have met nearly a dozen times in the years of the Delegation's activity.

Most of the meetings have taken place in Midrand, South Africa, the seat of the PAP and venue for its biannual plenary sessions. MEPs travelling to Midrand have attended the PAP's plenary and met with senior officials, including PAP President Roger Nkodo Dang.

"Pre-summit" meetings

Members from both parliaments have also organised meetings on the eve of the last three EU-Africa summits, providing the summit leaders with parliamentary input:

  • Members of the PAP and of the DPAP gathered in Lisbon in December 2007, two days before the second EU-Africa Summit opened. The important Joint EU-Africa Strategy for Africa (JAES) was adopted at this Summit, setting out a new model for cooperation.
    Addressing the formal opening of the Summit meeting, Pan-African Parliament President, Dr. Gertrude I. Mongella, and European Parliament President, Dr. Hans-Gert Pöttering, underlined the "essential role our parliaments have to play in the elaboration, execution and monitoring of the Joint EU-Africa Strategy and the first multi-annual action plan, which will be adopted."

  • In 2011, the third EU-Africa Summit in Tripoli focused on the institutional framework for economic development, peace and security, and Africa's progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.
    Again, members of the DPAP and of the PAP convened in advance of the Summit. The Vice-Presidents of the two parliaments declared they were "committed to establishing a stable partnership between our two parliaments with a view to coordinating our efforts more closely to ensure the [Africa-Europe] Strategy's successful implementation."

  • A fourth Summit, held in Brussels in 2014, adopted a declaration on joint priorities, another on migration and mobility, and a detailed "Roadmap" for 2014-2017.
    European Parliament President Martin Schulz addressed his fellow parliamentarians, who then jointly issued a declaration. They noted "the growing degree of cooperation between our two parliaments" and calling "for this parliamentary role to be strengthened further to enhance democracy and transparency in the field of Africa-EU relations".

  • A fifth Summit, for the first time named AU-EU Summit, was held in November 2017 in Abidjan (Cote d'Ivoire). President Knkodo Dang (PAP) and president Tajani (EP) presented the ABidjan Appeal and a declaration on the migrant situation in Libya. The Abidjan Appeal to the AU-EU Heads of State and Government puts forward eleven priority areas, to help deliver on the pledges made at the United Nations on the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement, leading to real improvements in peoples' lives and sustainable use of resources.

Delegation meetings

The DPAP also convenes in Brussels and Strasbourg for "ordinary" delegation meetings.

Held approximately every other month, these meetings allow the Delegation to debate issues of substance, as well as administrative and scheduling matters. A recent DPAP meeting, for example, addressed

  • Update on the post-Cotonou negotiations and the involvement of and implications for the African Union, and
  • Sustainable development, environment and green growth in Africa.

Guests from the European External Action Service (EEAS), the European Commission and the African Union frequently contribute to these discussions.

Technical support for the PAP

Since the African Union adopted a new protocol for the PAP, the European Parliament's Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group has labelled the PAP a "priority multilateral assembly", which means the PAP should benefit from support to build its capacity and help it make the transition to a legislative parliament.

Another source of EU support for the PAP is the European Commission, which in January 2017 signed a grant contract for €1.8 million with the PAP. This is the last of five projects aimed at "Strengthening the African Human Rights system". In this case, the main objective is to ensure that all African Union Member States ratify the AU's legal instruments related to good governance and human rights, and that the countries then incorporate them into their own national laws and implement them. The new PAP protocol is one of these instruments.

The project includes training of the PAP's staff and members, including with the European Parliament's technical support.

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