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Under the auspices of the current von der Leyen Commission, Africa has seemingly become a cornerstone of Europe’s geopolitical aspirations. Besides being perceived as a continent of opportunities, the two blocs have common challenges that need to be tackled such as climate change, the fight against inequalities, security, demographic management, the sustainable use of resources and innovation. Also migration is an important issue in EU-Africa relations, as it is the result of the non-management of these challenges which accelerates demographic instabilities, and installs conflicts, poverty and therefore forced migration.

In recent years, migration has become not just a priority for the EU, but increasingly an obsession that constitutes more and more the heart of EU-Africa relations. Although the Commission’s president Ursula von der Leyen reiterated the EU’s commitment to build a “partnership of equals” when she visited the African Union’s (AU) headquarters in 2019, policy processes vis-à-vis migration keep on containing an asymmetry in favour of European interests compared to those of their African partners.[1]

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[1] Remarks by President von der Leyen at the joint press statement with Moussa Faki, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Speech, December 2019 ( Consulted on 4 December 2020; F. ZANKER, ‘Managing or restricting movement? Diverging approaches of African and European migration governance’, Comparative Migration Studies, 7 (17), 2019, 1.