And since controversy begets controversy, the Summit starts, among other notorious "inconveniences", under the sour taste inflicted upon the leaders of both continents by a damning letter addressed to them a couple of days ago by a group of African and European writers who accuse them of "political cowardice".
But that will not be possible while the summit meeting shies away from discussing two of the world's worst humanitarian crises, those in Zimbabwe and Darfur. Despite Europe's and Africa's shared responsibility to address such crises, neither one is on the agenda. No time has been set aside for formal or informal discussion
What can one say of this political cowardice? We expect our leaders to lead, and lead with moral courage. When they fail to do so they leave all of us morally impoverished. Where they funk the difficult issues they make themselves irrelevant. Why should we listen to the mighty when the mighty are deaf to the cries of the afflicted? Millions of Africans and Europeans would expect Zimbabwe and Darfur to be at the very top of the agenda. It is not too late."
[Pictures at the EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon, Portugal on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2007: 1 - Muammar Qaddafi, Libya's leader, adjusts his sunglasses; 2 - Umar al-Bashir Sudan's president, left, and Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's president, center, talk before a group photo session. Photographer: Suzanne Plunkett/Bloomberg News]