Through an extensive coordination process, representatives of civil society organisations from both Africa and Europe had prepared themselves to present their views and recommendations to Heads of States at the AU-EU Summit in Abidjan on 29 and 30 November. The European and African CS steering groups who jointly organised the Tunis Civil Society Forum in July 2017 had chosen two representatives to speak on their behalf at the Abidjan Summit. Deplorably, they were prevented, at the last moment, from speaking at the Summit, despite the fact that they were explicitly included in the agenda.
The two steering groups addressed a joint letter to high level officials on both EU and AU sides highlighting that “CS exclusion sets a sad precedent in the seventeen years of history of this partnership and confirms the worrying trend of shrinking space for civil society. It also shows that this phenomenon is particularly grave in Africa, as dramatically illustrated by the repression of the “Forum Citoyen” celebrated in Abidjan, some days ahead of the summit.”