The 5th African Union – European Union Summit was held in Abidjan, the Republic of Ivory Coast on November 29 – 30, 2017. This summit witnessed the participation of the Heads of State and Government from 28 EU and 55 AU member states. The Presidents of the European Council, European Commission, African Union Commission and Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) also participated in the Summit to determine a future course of collaboration between the two continents. The recent Libyan Slavery Scandal overshadowed the official theme “Investing in Youth for Sustainable Future.” The United States’ giant media network CNN had exposed a horrifying situation of African slave trade in the Libyan migrant camps just 15 days before the Summit.
The leaders adopted a joint declaration defining the common priorities for the mutual partnership in four strategic areas; economic opportunities for youth; peace and security; mobility and migration; and cooperation on governance. A joint statement was also adopted “condemning the inhuman treatment of migrants and refugees by criminal groups” in Libya. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that “it’s very important that we simply support Africans to put a stop to illegal migration, so people don`t have to either suffer in horrible camps in Libya or even being traded.” The French President Emmanuel Macron declared the trafficking of African migrants as slaves a “crime against humanity” and announced “the concrete military and policing action” against the human traffickers. However, he openly opposed the deployment of any troops in Libya by saying that “it`s not about declaring war, Libya is a state in political transition … but there`s reinforced police action that needs to be done to dismantle those networks.” France also proposed UN sanctions on the networks involved in this crime.