The close EU-AU cooperation on peace and security has become a driving force for the development of a fully-fledged Africa-EU strategic partnership, culminating in a comprehensive Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) adopted in December 2007 in Lisbon, including a First Action Plan and in particular the Partnership on Peace and Security. The priorities of this unique partnership foresee an increased political dialogue on peace and security matters, the full operationalisation of the APSA and predictable funding enabling the AU and Regional Economic Mechanisms (RECs and RMs) which constitute the building blocks of the APSA to plan and conduct PSOs on the African continent.

The political dialogue between both institutions takes place at all levels, however, in recent years great strides have been made in bringing together the EU Political & Security Committee and the AU Peace & Security Committee for regular exchanges on mutual subjects of concern as well as consolidating closer inter-institutional ties.

 The strong determination of the AU to take responsibility for peace and security in Africa in its own hands has met considerable support by the EU from the onset, both politically and financially. In 2004, the African Peace Facility (APF) was established in response to a request by African leaders at the AU Summit in Maputo in 2003. Through the APF, the EU has been at the forefront of international support to the African Peace and Security agenda, providing, in parallel to EU political backing, substantial and predictable funding to African PSOs and relevant capacity building at the regional and continental level.

 The general objective of the African Peace Facility is to contribute to the African peace and security agenda through targeted support at the continental and regional level in the area of conflict prevention, management and resolution, and peace building. The APF addresses peace and security priorities jointly defined in the Partnership, in respect of the underlying principles of the Joint Strategy (ownership, partnership and solidarity).

 Financial support of nearly €440M has been channeled through the APF under the 9th European Development fund (EDF), including additional voluntary contributions of EU Member States and a first tranche of €300M has been committed under the 10th EDF. Those funds have enabled the African Union and the RECs/RMs to strengthen their role, take responsibility for the stability of the continent and emerge as an internationally recognized, major player in the political and security area.