As the great get together of European and African leaders gradually winds down in Lisbon, it is hard not to be cynical. The presence of such figures as Robert Mugabe President of the country that used to be Zimbabwe and is now a collection of ruins or Omar Hassan al-Bashir of the benighted tyranny of Sudan makes it hard not to emit a hollow laugh as certain European leaders make protests of brotherhood and equality.
Europe has much to do when it engages in Africa: opening up its market for African goods would do far more to alleviate African poverty than all of the assistance programmes of all the European States combined. However the EU remains in thrall to powerful interest groups and no such change seems to be in prospect. European consumers pay for expensive food while those who could supply it cheaper are unable to trade and often left to starve.
Meanwhile by inviting the murderous tyrants amongst the African leaders it shows the hand of friendship to those who should in fact be shunned utterly.
If that is the European leaders idea of "brotherhood", it is fairly contemptible.