EU Makes Nice With Africa

Europe offers trade pacts that snub human rights; UK refuses to attend Lisbon summit
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2007 8:10 PM CST
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, left, and Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates listen to the national anthems Thursday, Dec. 6 2007, at the Sao Bento Palace, the Premier's official residence, in Lisbon....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The EU will pooh-pooh human rights issues this weekend as it woos Africa with new trade pacts at a rare summit in Lisbon, the Economist reports. With China and India snapping up more African resources, Europe plans to offer friendly deals that leave out human rights demands. But the EU's invite to strong-arm Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was too much for Britain, which refused to attend.

EU offers will let Africa protect 20% of its markets while having free access to European goods—but countries like South Africa and Nigeria still claim they're being pressured by demands to sign deals by new year's. One African official is already scorning the summit: “Europe is jealous," he said. "They say we have gotten a new colonial master, but our old one wasn't so good.”