Tanzania: European Council renews impetus for the Africa-EU Partnership

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (PANA) - Europe and Africa have much to gain from further increasing political and economic ties, because as close neighbours, both share a common future and 2017 is an important year for their partnership, the Council of the European Union (EU) said on Monday.

In its conclusions on a renewed impetus for the Africa-EU Partnership, a copy of which was made available to PANA in Dar es Salaam, the Council warmly welcomed the recent exchanges of views with the  African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson on his visit to the EU institutions and said that it looked forward to working closely with African partners towards an ambitious and successful 5th Summit in Abidjan on 29 and 30 November 2017.

"The EU is committed to build on the results already achieved by this partnership. It emphasises the importance of an equal, sustainable and mutually beneficial relationship with Africa in a spirit of shared ownership and responsibility, building on the Joint Africa EU Strategy established in 2007 and guided by political frameworks developed since then, notably the UN's 2030 Agenda, the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, the African Union Agenda 2063, as well as the EU's Global Strategy and the new European Consensus on Development," it said

The EU and its Member States are Africa's main partners in the fields of foreign investment, trade,  place of origin for remittances, development and humanitarian assistance, and  security and defence.

According to the statement, the EU aims to remain Africa’s main partner in those fields and beyond: the successor to the Cotonou Agreement will be an important instrument for the relationship post2020, and the upcoming Summit could provide an opportunity to reflect upon European-African relations in that context.

It said the Joint Communication 'Africa-EU Partnership: a renewed impetus' makes an important contribution to launching Summit preparations. As per its proposal, the agenda of the Summit could be structured around building more resilient states and societies and creating more and better jobs, especially for youth.

The EU and its Member States are committed to contributing concrete actions at continental, regional and national level, to deliver on the joint way forward agreed upon in the Summit.

Delivering on this ambitious agenda, the Council underlined, "requires a truly strategic and equal political relationship with Africa." The EU pursues three interrelated political objectives:

- a stronger mutual engagement, including on global governance issues, through frequent political interaction and more people to people contacts, as well as increased cooperation in the international arena, based on common positions, values and shared interests;

- security on land and sea, and the fight against transnational threats such as illegal arms trade, trafficking and smuggling, terrorism, and piracy, as an investment in security on both continents;

- sustainable, inclusive and environmentally friendly economic development in Africa, creating more and better jobs on the continent and seizing the opportunities it offers to both Africa and Europe.

The Summit's central theme of "investing in youth" will allow Africa and the EU to jointly strengthen the partnership and address demographic dynamics in order to better meet the aspirations and hopes of future European and African generations. In all this work, it is crucial to closely associate with and focus on youth in the overall process leading to the Summit as well as at the Summit. The EU promotes their economic and political inclusion.

The EU has emphasised the role of regional and sub-regional cooperation, which provide building blocks to pan-African integration efforts for both political objectives of security and combatting cross-border threats and for economic and social development. In addition, the Council underlined the important role of local authorities and civil society organisations in delivering on the shared objectives.

Pointing out that peace and security will remain at the centre of the EU’s cooperation with African partners, including the AU and Regional Economic Communities, the statement said the EU looks forward to the opportunity to reinforce and renew this partnership at the upcoming Summit, including through closer UN, AU and EU cooperation.

To complement and facilitate African efforts, the Council said: "We support strengthening the capacity of African States and organisations, notably through the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and by making EU instruments more flexible, reactive and better adapted to support these efforts (e.g. Capacity Building in Support of Security and Development). Taking into account its long-standing and continuing financial support through the African Peace Facility, the EU looks forward to and welcomes the ongoing work to increase African funding for peace and security."

Recalling the intimate linkage between security, good governance, food and nutrition security, climate and sustainable development, the EU reiterated its commitment to maintain and strengthen its support to democracy and the promotion of human rights and the rule of law.

"The role of women in the work on peace and security is essential. The EU emphasises its intent to promote accountable, transparent and responsive governance, notably through the full operationalisation of the African Governance Architecture (AGA) and its close link to the APSA and including by means of strengthening confidence in democratic processes through enhanced cooperation on Electoral support, and through e-governance tools," it emphasised.  

Regarding implementation of the Paris Agreement, its objectives for climate mitigation and adaptation, and to better manage natural resources, the statement said European and African partnership will need to be strengthened.

"This partnership will be key to improve resilience to environmental degradation and humanitarian crises exacerbated by the impact of climate change at all levels. Such work should build on the reaffirmed EU – AU commitment to continue addressing the adverse effects of climate change on human health and livestock, natural ecosystems and other social and economic impacts that threaten our developmental gains as a global community," it stated.  

The Council also underlined that resilient societies are inclusive societies with equality between women and men and inclusion of persons in vulnerable situation as fundamental principles for their stability and development including through equal participation in decision-making processes.

"The EU underlines the need for further efforts to eliminate gender-based violence. It also underlines the importance of strengthening the resilience of individuals and communities against the appeal of violent extremism and radicalisation, including through fostering religious tolerance and interreligious dialogue.

"The Council remains committed to the promotion, protection and fulfilment of all human rights and to the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the Programme of Action of the ICPD and the outcomes of their review conferences and remains committed to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), in this context.

"Having that in mind, the Council reaffirms the EU's commitment to the promotion, protection and fulfilment of the right of every individual to have full control over, and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality and sexual and reproductive health, free from discrimination, coercion and violence. The Council further stresses the need for universal access to quality and affordable comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information, education, including comprehensive sexuality education, and health-care services."

Recalling European Council conclusions, the Council emphasised the shared interest in migration and mobility management cooperation in view of its economic, security-related and social impact between and within our continents. It reiterates its commitment to existing policy frameworks guiding EU-Africa cooperation in this regard, while respecting EU and national competences, and also recalled the potential that African and European diasporas represent.

Taking into account the EU's continuous dialogue and cooperation with African partners on migration and mobility in a spirit of partnership, including through the joint Valletta Action Plan, the Council said it fully supported the engagement under the Partnership Framework’s holistic approach aimed at maximising synergies and making full and comprehensive use of all relevant EU policies, instruments and tools, including development and trade.

It underlined the need for continuous and increased political buy-in from all parties in order to manage migratory flows in all their aspects, tackle related cross-border challenges, continue national work on regular migration and mobility, save lives, ensure protection, tackle root causes, prevent and discourage irregular migration, enhance cooperation on return, readmission and sustainable reintegration, and address vulnerabilities of people subject to forced displacements.

As a long-standing partner in the area of education, the EU has emphasised the importance of increasing investments in inclusive quality education and training at all levels. "Girls and women in particular must have the skills to meet labour market requirements. In addition, special attention needs to be given to granting equal opportunities," it said.

In the Council's view, such investments must take place throughout the education cycle from early interventions at primary level to vocational and tertiary initiatives complemented by the delivery of key essential services, in particular nutrition, to maximise the potential of large youth populations.

The Council also  welcomed the initial proposals for actions focussed on "more and better jobs especially for Youth", underlining that this entails working with governments at all levels and with the private sector to strengthen entrepreneurship, investment and economic diversification.

The EU strongly supports investment in and modernisation of African agriculture and agro-business, including small-scale food producers, in particular female and family farmers. It also supports blue economy including fisheries, as well as technological development particularly in the ICT sector.

"All those sectors play a key role for job creation, contributing to the emergence of Africa its countries seek. Enhanced social dialogue and sound industrial relations to ensure decent work and quality jobs contribute significantly to greater equality, gender equality and inclusive sustainable growth," the statement said.

The EU has welcomed the special attention devoted to Africa in 2017, notably with the G7 Outreach to Africa and the G20 Africa Partnership Initiative under Italian and German presidencies.

"The EU and its Member States will work closely together with the AU and its Member States to further refine concrete initiatives for the Summit in all these areas of common interest for the two continents, in synergy with bilateral as well as multilateral initiatives," the Council concluded.
-0- PANA AR/MA 19June2017

19 june 2017 10:44:07

xhtml CSS