Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is counting on the further intensification of relations between the European and African Unions. In particular, he expects the EU-Africa Strategy adopted in Lisbon last December to provide significant fresh impetus. In a letter to Jean Ping following his election as Chairperson of the African Union Commission on 1 February, the Minister wrote:
"Please accept my sincere congratulations on your election as Chairperson of the African Union Commission.
With this office, you assume a huge responsibility for peace and progress on the African continent and for Africa's role as a member of the international community. On behalf of the German Government and for my own part, I wish you all the best and every success for these demanding duties.
It is my firm conviction that together we will succeed in further developing and intensifying relations between the African Union and the EU. Mutual understanding and trust will continue to be indispensable. The EU-Africa Strategy adopted in Lisbon last December constitutes a very good foundation in this respect, and additionally provides valuable new impetus.
I very much hope that we will soon have an opportunity to exchange ideas in person."