Brussels: Statement by Commissioner Urpilainen during the Informal Meeting of Development Ministers 29/09/2020:
“Despite the postponement of the Summit, we must keep the momentum in our engagement with African partners. We still have a lot of work to engage and agree on key issues.
How we can use the time ahead to deliver at the Summit? I would like to put forward three ideas.
First, a coordinated outreach: we have already set important platforms to stimulate discussions. And at the Foreign Affairs Council last Monday, Ministers expressed their readiness to intensify the political outreach to African partners and I am sure you will be part of it too. I welcome this decision and we could design a coordinated process.
Secondly, we should use the time to properly reflect, together with our African partners, on how we can turn the priorities into concrete deliverables.
For example, an important deliverable could be a comprehensive investment package, linked to the SDGs.
Furthermore, we can take forward the issue of debt, and I would suggest we have this discussion jointly with our colleagues the Ministers of Finance, as it is only if we act together that we could have real influence.
My third and final point is that our best shot at delivering on our ambitions is of course as Team Europe. Of the global Team Europe response to COVID-19, almost EUR 7 billion, excluding guarantees, will go to Africa. And let us not forget the impressive work Team Europe has done on vaccines initiatives or the G20-Paris Club Debt Service Suspension Initiative.
Our services, including on the ground in Africa, have started to work very closely to identify possible Team Europe Initiatives that should allow us to have real transformative impact and become a partner of reference.
Those Team Europe Initiatives are guided by the priorities outlined in the Joint Communication on a Strategy with Africa, which remain valid.
To further give political impetus I would like to propose that we write together co-signed letters to our Embassies and Delegations in partner countries to consolidate and strengthen Team Europe in the next programming phase”.