Tuesday 12 July 2016

Explaining EU abbreviations: APF and APSA and the African Union

Even after following EU affairs closely for a decade now, I still find EU abbreviations I've never heard off. Today I stumbled over APF and APSA.

On the 13 July 2016 agenda of the Africa Working Party of the EU Council, there is the agenda item "APF - APSA request". Nothing more. This is the type of document that makes EU decision-making hardly intelligible, even if it has become much more transparent in recent years.

So, what is behind the abbreviations:

  • APF: is the African Peace Facility is the EU's "the main source of funding to support the African Union's and African Regional Economic Communities' efforts in the area of peace and security", with almost €2 billion EU money from the European Development Fund since 2004 (Source)
  • APSA: is the African Peace and Security Architecture is linked to the African Union and it has "the goal of preventing, managing and resolving conflicts on the continent". The idea is that, thanks to this architecture in the making, the African Union can "intervene in a member state in grave circumstances, such as genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity." (Source)
In South Sudan, where there has been a breakout of violence in recent days, is only a member of the East African Community. The African Union only has a Liaison Office (kind of an embassy).

The African Union Commissioner for peace and security, Smail Chergui, was still concerned about the violence in South Sudan, showing that the mechanisms on the agenda of the Africa Working Party, although just two abbreviations, actually links to developments that concern more than just 30 experts sitting around a table in Brussels.