August 3, 2021

that of geopolitics and that of identity ”

Ldid you know? Reporting in “front page”, on February 21, 1957, of decisive progress in the negotiation of the Six on a common European market, The world titled: “First step towards Eurafrica”. Gathered in Matignon, the heads of government of the six founding countries had taken only thirteen hours – already! – to remove the last obstacles to the treaty which was to be signed in Rome. Faced with the Germans and the Dutch who “Dragged their feet”, tells us the article of Pierre Drouin, France had notably succeeded in imposing the association of the overseas territories to the common market. When it was signed on March 25, 1957, the Treaty of Rome covered a territorial area of ​​which 75% were located outside geographic Europe: mainly the French and Belgian colonies in Africa.

More than six decades later, a French president who prides himself on being born after colonization confides in the Sunday newspaper, between Kigali and Pretoria, his pride in having “Succeeded in building a Euro-African axis”. Nothing to do, of course, with the deceased “Eurafrique” of which Léopold Sédar Senghor, who saw it as a vehicle of development for his continent, was the most ardent defender, while it was only an extension of the colonial empire.

A major theme

But the “Euro-African axis” dreamed of by Emmanuel Macron, and which has for the moment only a timid diplomatic translation, illustrates the idea of ​​a community of destiny between the Old Continent and this continent so young where , Mr. Macron is convinced, “Part of the change in the world will be played out”. In order for this community of destiny to form, however, it must be established on fundamentally different foundations. The French president got down to it, relying in particular on a voluntary memorial diplomacy; the European dimension of this effort is long overdue.

Read also: In South Africa, Emmanuel Macron engaged in the “war” for Africa’s access to vaccines

It is, however, a major theme for the European Union (EU). On two fronts: that of geopolitics and that of European identity.

Identity discourse, with the rise of the decolonial movement in the United States, “Is in the process of dethroning the discourse of the Cold War centered on the confrontation between democracy and communism, says essayist Ivan Krastev. In such a context, Europe is in a weak position in Africa vis-à-vis China: China presents itself as a victim of colonialism which defends the sovereignty of postcolonial states against neocolonial European practices ”. If it wants to counter the influence of China, Russia or Turkey in Africa, Europe must get rid of all suspicion of colonialism.

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