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DPAP: Delegation for relations with the Pan-African Parliament

The European Parliament's Delegation for relations with the Pan-African Parliament (DPAP) fosters links with elected representatives from across Africa.

The delegation's focus, the Pan-African Parliament, is the legislative arm of the African Union, an inter-governmental organisation regrouping 55 African countries and working to re-enforce their solidarity. The Union was founded in 2001, and its parliament held its first session in 2004.

Because each country in the African Union sends five representatives to the Pan-African Parliament, the European Parliament's delegation works with a large and varied group of counterparts.

The DPAP delegation has attended sessions of the Pan-African Parliament and held inter-parliamentary meetings with its legislators, most often in Midrand, South Africa, the current seat of the Parliament.

The DPAP delegation also meets regularly on its own in Brussels or Strasbourg to discuss issues related to Africa and EU-Africa relations.

Members and Chair

The DPAP delegation counts 12 full members, backed up by a set of substitute members.

The Chair of the European Parliament's Delegation is Michael Gahler, a German member of the European Parliament's Group of the European People's Party. He is supported by two vice-chairs: MEPs Fredrick Federley and Maria Heubuch.

The chair and vice-chairs are elected by the other members of the delegation, while the members are nominated by the Parliament's political groups. The political balance of the delegation mirrors that of the European Parliament as a whole.

Pre-summit gatherings

One of the major joint accomplishments of the DPAP delegation and the Pan-African Parliament has been their "pre-summit" meetings, organised before the last three Africa-EU summits.

These meetings offer the two delegations the opportunity to discuss upcoming issues and insist - with one voice - on the importance of involving parliaments in the work of the summits, which otherwise involve only heads of state. The summits have produced important decisions about the orientation of EU-Africa relations.

A landmark outcome of the second summit, held in Lisbon in 2007, was the "Joint EU-Africa Strategy for Africa" (JAES), which called " for these two neighbours, with their rich and complex history, to forge a new and stronger partnership that builds on their new identities and renewed institutions, capitalises on the lessons of the past and provides a solid framework for long-term, systematic and well integrated cooperation."

Three three-year plans for implementing the Strategy have been adopted at the summits - the first (for 2008-2010) in Lisbon in 2007, the second (covering 2011-2013) at the 2010 summit in Tripoli, and a third "roadmap" (for 2013-2017) at the 2014 summit in Brussels.

The DPAP delegation and a delegation from the Pan-African Parliament have met on the eve of all of these summits to discuss and provide input for the summit's leaders. A joint declaration from parliamentarians to the summit identifies the most significant issues and the parliaments' position.

Other inter-parliamentary meetings

The Joint EU-Africa Strategy for Africa and its implementation plans has also proved an important topic of discussion at the delegation's other inter-parliamentary meetings.

Participants in these meetings also confer on other issues of common concern, such as the post-Cotonou framework, migration and security, as well as the recurrent themes of human development, inclusive growth.

The DPAP at home

At the delegation's regular meetings in Brussels and Strasbourg, these topics are also analysed, but with different interlocutors.

To expand their deliberations, members of the delegation regularly invite senior officials from the European Commission and European External Action Service, African and African Union diplomats, non-governmental organisations, and researchers from academia and think tanks.