William Molinié 11:15 a.m., February 18, 2022

European and African leaders met in Brussels on Thursday on the first day of an EU-African Union summit intended to "reinvent" their partnership and face common challenges, a few hours after France and its allies formalized their withdrawal. of Mali.

The African Union expects the support of France in particular to hold the armed groups at bay.

European and African leaders met in Brussels on Thursday on the first day of an EU-African Union summit intended to "reinvent" their partnership and face common challenges, a few hours after France and its allies formalized their withdrawal. of Mali.

A new security policy is notably on the agenda of this summit.

Our special correspondent on the spot deciphers the expectations of the African Union towards Europe, and more particularly from France.

>> Find the morning of the day in replay and podcast here

First, African leaders expect stability and security in the face of the jihadist threat, which is now spreading to coastal countries.

Coups d'etat have multiplied in the region, in Mali, in Guinea and at the beginning of the year in Burkina Faso.

Even Macky Sall, the powerful Senegalese president who lost Dakar in the last local elections, measures the fragility of African democracies and calls for a new alliance with Europe.

“This changing Africa wants consensual and mutually beneficial partnerships, without civilizational injunction, without exclusion or exclusivity,” he said.

Protecting the sensitivities of African populations

West African leaders need the support of France to hold armed groups at bay.

While sparing the sometimes explosive sensitivities of their populations in the face of an increasingly contested Western presence.

This will also be one of the keys to the success of the redeployment of the French army in the region.

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"You have to keep a low profile so as not to create friction", we recognize in Paris.

In other words, provide security without showing the muscles.

A balancing act for Emmanuel Macron who came to the European capital, according to those around him, to "change words, attitudes and relationships" with Africans.

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