Tag Archives: African Union

EU-AU meeting in Addis Ababa

Opening statement by President von der Leyen at the 10th EU-AU Commission-to-Commission meeting plenary session which took place on Feburary 26 in Addis-Ababa.

“…We are natural partners. And listening to you, I once again realised how similar our challenges and our opportunities are and how natural it is to work together in the mutual interest” president von der Leyen said.

“Africa is home to the fastest growing economies of the world. And your nations and community of nations are becoming more and more united – if you look at the African peacekeeping missions to the new Free Trade Area, I am very interested in them.

And just like Europe, you want to be the master of your future. So there are a lot of common points we have to discuss and where we can find common paths towards the future. I truly believe that the stronger Africa will be, the stronger we will be too.

So I am pleased to be back here with the College, the Commissioners. And indeed, this is the largest delegation of Commissioners as College ever. We never had so many Commissioners on a trip abroad, outside the European Union, so many Commissioners to visit. And therefore, this too is a very strong sign of the interest we have in each other.

You mentioned many topics we have to discuss, be it peace and security or jobs and skills. But, of course, also climate action, the transition to a digital society and economy, human mobility, trade, and many other topics.

It is our 10th College-to-College meeting, we have already come a long way. And we have worked together on security and development from the Horn of Africa to the Sahel, you mentioned it. We have started to invest in good jobs for youth across the continent.

It has become a partnership of equals, where both sides have something to win and both sides have a lot of responsibilities. So we are aware of the challenges, but we are also aware of the common perspective and the common opportunities we want to grasp.

Dear Moussa, when I first came to Addis, I told you that I came first of all to listen. And this is why we are all here today. After our first meeting, we have put together topics, a set of proposals – these will be the round tables today – the four main themes that we have chosen together.

It is first of all peace, security and good governance. Your initiative to silence the guns in Africa is something we are deeply impressed of, we want to support you as much as we can. It is a huge challenge, it is absolutely the right idea to silence the guns. So you have us at your side because this is of utmost importance for the development of this continent. And you rightly mentioned that Libya shows how natural it should be to join forces – we have met indeed in Berlin – but we know how difficult it is to implement afterwards. To keep everybody on board. But this is the essence of multilateralism. It is not only to sit down together to discuss things but it is also to implement them, to stay true to what you have accepted or what you have promised. So there is still a lot to do – we know it – and we count on you and your expertise to improve things knowing how hard this will be. So let us discuss how to best link your initiatives and our initiatives.

Second, on trade and investment. We all know the questions we have in front of us. How to make the most of your new Free Trade Area. How to bring investment to Africa. Indeed, as you mentioned, Europe is the largest investor in Africa and the largest trade partner to Africa. So there is a lot we have to share – a lot of technologies and expertise we can share. We would like to hear what you expect from our partnership, and how far you are willing to go.

Third, on the transition towards a cleaner, carbon-neutral and digital economy. I think no one understands climate change better than you. I just have to mention the growing desert. And all of us, in our continents, in Africa and in Europe, we see already and fear the consequences of climate change – the floodings, the draughts, the grief over losing species – we call it biodiversity. The knowledge that we have to profoundly change the way we produce and consume into a circular economy with respect to nature, live in harmony with nature. There is a lot we have to change, but also a lot of opportunities ahead of us we want to grasp – with new technologies and new opportunities. And the same goes, of course, for the digital age – I know that there is a thirst for digital skills in young Africans and young Europeans – let us join forces there, let us give them the technologies, let us give them the skills and, of course, frame the whole thing, because technology is neutral. So it is depending of us what we make out of it – whether it is going to be more positive or more difficult for our societies. And if I may say so, Africa does not have to repeat that same mistakes Europe did in the past. So you can take the fast track towards a more modern and more sustainable economy. Let us walk this path together, in our mutual interest.

Finally, on migration, human mobility and skills. I commend you for your initiatives on giving women full access to finance, full access to entrepreneurship, to create your own business – rightly so, I can only say. It is something where Europe also fights for, struggles with. We are still not where we want to be, we know these topics, but [and] we have improved and still, there is a lot to do. So I commend you on that. I commend you on your initiatives in investing in youth. We have achieved a lot in recent years, also on the topic of fighting smuggling and human trafficking, which disrespects the human dignity. So there, we join forces. And on the topic of voluntary returns: There is still a long way to go, yes. We must invest in what has worked over the years – so we have some experience. Over the last decades, we worked a lot together, we made mistakes, we had successes. So let us take this experience and move it forward. That what worked, we should extend, we should emphasise and intensify. And we must do more so that African youth can find a place within their own societies – through investment to education, health – these are the main topics we want to tackle.

We have come with proposals, but we want to hear from you, too. This is the fourth round table, I am very curious to hear the results. All this is based on the conversation that we will work on our contributions to a new Strategy with Africa. This is the starting point today. This is the very first step we take. It is a big step in taking our partnership – a long lasting partnership – to the next level. I am looking forward to that.”

Michel addresses AU Summit

Speech by President of the European Union Council Charles Michel at the official dinner of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa:

“It is an honour and privilege for me to take the floor as the voice of Europe before you, in Ethiopia, the land of origins and the cradle of the last Nobel Peace Prize. Congratulations again dear Abiy Ahmed.

It is with deep pleasure that I return to this continent, for which I have so much affection.

I am here today to bear witness to a metamorphosis of this continent but also that of Europe.

Your northern neighbour is changing. I am here tonight to speak for 27 European countries. 22 of them never had any colonies.

A new generation of leaders is coming to power. They are not hampered by the burden of nostalgia.

We want to look towards the future, and to our neighbours. We want to tackle climate change and the digital revolution. The two major challenges we are all facing.

Europe wants to speak up on the international stage, where its values inspire its actions.

This changing Europe is looking at Africa with fresh eyes – with respect, optimism and confidence!

Africa is vibrant, full of the energy of youth and it is buzzing with new technology!

A continent of opportunities: that is what Europe sees.

For a long time, Europe remained trapped in an outdated view of this continent.

Africa, too, has at times cultivated a kind of ambiguity in its relationship with Europe.

Our closeness connects us, our partnership is a rich one. Everything draws us towards one another: history, geography, culture and the many exchanges between us.

Europe is your partner for trade, investment, cooperation and development. But this partnership is no longer enough; it needs to be reinvented. We must build a new house to accommodate our many common interests, and we must write a new chapter together”.

EU calls Sudan for consensus

“The use of violence today against protesters and other civilians has led to deplorable loss of life. We express our condolences to the families and friends of the victims”, said  European External Action Service (EEAS) spokesperson (pictured) in a statement, commenting outbreak of violence in Khartoum on June 3.

“There is no justification for the use of force to disperse the peaceful sit-in. The Transitional Military Council is accountable for security and rule of law in the country, and have the responsibility to act with restraint.

“We expect the Transitional Military Council to respect the right of people to voice peacefully their concerns, without any threat or use of violence. Any escalation of the use of violence can only derail the necessary political process and lead to a dangerous impasse, that will not respond to the legitimate aspirations of the people of Sudan.

“The priority should remain to find a swift consensus that allows a transfer of power to a civilian-led authority, as also prescribed by the African Union. Such an authority is the only partner with which EU-Sudan relations can be normalised.”

 

African Union imposes Sudan power transfer

The African Union (AU) demanded Sudan’s military to hand over power to a civilian-led transitional authority within 60 days.

In a statement, the AU said it noted “with deep regret” that the military had not stepped aside and handed power to civilians within a 15-day period set by the AU last month. The 60 days were a final extension for Sudan’s Transitional Military Council to hand over power to civilians, the AU underlined.

 

Congo rejects African Union demands

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) rejected the demand of African Union (AU) to postpone the announcement of the final election result, in spite of the warning of the possible unrest, caused by released by the Catholic bishops information, proclaiming the former Exxon Mobile manager Martin Fayulu (62) as the absolute winner. Following the contestant complains, the Constitutional Court assessed the plebiscite legality in a response to an appeal filed by election runner-up Martin Fayulu – who says he was cheated of his victory in the December 30 election.

The court is independent,” government spokesman Lambert Mende said on January 18. “I don’t think it is the business of the government or even of the African Union to tell the court what it should do.”

EU continues to work for stability of Cameroon

“Following the announcement of the results of the presidential election in Cameroon by the Constitutional Council, the European Union expects the President-elect to bring together all stakeholders to overcome the challenges facing the country, to the benefit of all Cameroonians” says the European External Actions Service statement on the presidential elections in Cameroon.

“While elections were generally held in a peaceful manner, some parts of the population were unable to take part in the vote. The EU reiterates its concern about the situation in the North-West and South-West regions of the country. It is crucial that the authorities are open to the proposals of civil society and religious authorities for a peaceful and lasting resolution of the crisis, and that a process of dialogue be launched as soon as possible with all actors in favour of peace.”

“The preliminary statement of the African Union Election Observation Mission recommends strengthening the legal and institutional framework for elections in Cameroon, which could increase voter confidence in the electoral process and make it more inclusive. Such reforms are crucial and the EU stands ready to accompany such a process. The EU takes note that all appeals lodged by the opposition candidates have been rejected”.

“The European Union, as a major partner of Cameroon, will continue to work for the development and stability of the country for the benefit of all Cameroonians.”

Nigeria to join African free trade area

President Muhammadu Buhari said Nigeria will soon sign up to an African continental free trade agreement.

Buhari made the comment while speaking at a press conference during a visit by South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa.

African Continental Free Trade Agreement among 55 members of African Union will result in creating in the largest free-trade area in the world. The Agreement was signed by 44 countries in March, and South Africa joining in July.

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