Saturday, May 17, 2008

EU Seeks to Subdue Competitive China

TRADE-AFRICA: EU Seeks to Subdue Competitive China

By Michael Deibert

Inter Press Service

JOHANNESBURG, May 15, 2008 (IPS) - With the ascendance of China as a robust force on Africa's economic and political scene, plans are afoot in the European Union (EU) to pre-empt the Asian nation's dominance on the continent by forming a trilateral partnership that places Europe squarely in the centre.

The idea of a multilateral triumvirate was conceived by Louis Michel, the EU's commissioner for development and humanitarian aid, and seeks to lay out common ground in what has occasionally been a contentious relationship between these three actors.

''There are three fields where the partners can work together: peace and security, infrastructure and natural resources,'' says Veronika Tywuschik, a research assistant at the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) in Brussels. The ECDPM is a non-governmental organisation that assists African, Caribbean and Pacific countries with policy processes.

With Michel set to step down as commissioner in 2009, pressure is building for him to come up with a workable platform in the next few months.

A public consultation period which started on April 16 and will end on July 13 this year is seeking to gather a wide variety of views on how the proposed relations should be constructed.

A public consultation document has been released in the form of a questionnaire asking European citizens which sectors the cooperation should focus on and why.

Read the full article here.

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