European-African trade talks at a tense Lisbon summit collapsed in their final session yesterday. If a new agreement isn’t reached by year’s end, the European Union may levy higher tariffs on African exports, further exacerbating tensions between the continents. A new, controversial set of agreements would have dropped duty on most imports from Africa in exchange for granting Europe liberalized access to African markets.
"No one will make us believe we don't have the right to protect our economic fabric," said the president of the African Union commission. Anti-poverty activists had been protesting the agreements, saying they would hurt poor African farmers and future development on the continent. Summit leaders talked trade but also traded barbs over human rights and controversial Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, the Guardian reports.