The European Union's top development official says the bloc must rid itself of the notion that Africa is still Europe's own private domain.
EU Development Commission Louis Michel says Europe is not alone in the world in its relationship with Africa, and it will never be alone again. He cited the growing influence of China and the United States in Africa.
Michel criticized the EU for looking at the African continent as a burden rather than an opportunity. He urged the bloc to propose a new partnership with its former colonies.
Michel made the comments Friday at a conference in Brussels ahead of a major EU-Africa summit.
The EU-Africa summit is aimed at strengthening political and economic ties between the two regions. It is scheduled for December 8-9 in Lisbon.
Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said he will not attend the summit if Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is there. He says he can not sit down with Mr. Mugabe, given what he called conditions of oppression in Zimbabwe.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.