Tag Archives: Brussels

BRAFA 2022: Tribal art and “fetishes”

Brussels 17.06.2022 Anna Van Densky: As the centrepiece of its stand, Montagut Gallery will be presenting an exceptional Soninke statue, from the Dogon culture, Mali, thirteenth century.

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A selection of “fetishes” from the Democratic Republic of Congo will also be on display, at Didier Claes.
The exhibition “Nkisi” focuses on the beauty of these “force-objects” which, through the addition of
various elements, were magically charged and enabled access to their ritual function of divination and
communication with the spirits. Dalton Somaré will present a very graphic portrait mask,
Baule, Côte d’Ivoire, late nineteenth century, with traces of polychrome.

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The Guilhem Montagut Gallery has focused primarily on art from the early periods of tribal societies, with particular emphasis on African art. Since 1990, the gallery in Barcelona has provided private collectors and institutions with high quality pieces, offering the highest guarantees concerning value and authenticity. The gallery participates in a number of art fairs every year, including Feriarte in Madrid, Parcours des Mondes in Paris and Bruneaf in Brussels.

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The 67th edition of BRAFA, which will take place from Sunday, June 19th to Sunday, June 26th, 2022,
will open in the summer time season. From the first steps the visitors will be enchanted by a
richly-coloured decor welcoming them to daydream and contemplate. Elegantly flowered, covered with a unique carpet, and embellished by sculptures, paintings and drawings by our Belgian guest of honour, Arne
Quinze, the Fair will welcome 115 Belgian and international exhibitors spread over two Palaces at Brussels Expo, an emblematic and historic venue.

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Whilst this change of scenery has undoubtedly breathed new life into BRAFA, the Fair 2022 has also
retained its essential values: quality, authenticity and eclecticism. Collectors will be able to explore
the aisles where long-standing galleries and 18 new exhibitors will be displayed in a circuit that
promotes discovery and a mix of styles.

EU-AU Summit in Brussels

Brussels 18.02.2022 “The pandemic is of course one of the reasons that so much time has passed since our last meeting. It further reinforces the exceptional dimension that both parties wish to give to this summit. The aim is nothing less than to jointly lay the foundations of a renewed partnership between our two continents, a fresh start that has been in the making for some time now. Growth, shared prosperity and stability are the main objectives of this partnership. Our summit will be based on two fundamental principles”, reads the Joint article by Macky Sall, President of Senegal and Chairperson of the African Union, and Charles Michel, President of the European Council.

Respect and values
“Our two continents and their peoples share geographic proximity, languages, and human and economic ties. The peace and security of our two continents are interdependent. That is why the first fundamental principle must be respect. The future requires us to accept and respect our differences.

“The second fundamental principle is the rights and values of dignity, freedom and solidarity, exercised within the framework of the rule of law and good governance. On this common ground, we can learn from each other every day.

“Finally, our project is based on common interests. At its heart is a prosperous, stable, secure and sustainable Africa which is fully capable of facing all the challenges of the future.

“A partnership for prosperity
A partnership calls for exchange and sharing. Each of our two continents has enormous potential to contribute to this joint project.

“The EU will provide public and private investment capacity, as well as expertise with the green infrastructure and technologies that are vital to our common fight against climate change and to transforming African economies.

“Africa has vast natural resources, a young and dynamic population just waiting to step up, and an impressive capacity for innovation and invention.

“It also needs better access to resources, including through the reallocation of special drawing rights on a voluntary basis, in order to finance its massive economic and social development requirements.

“In the same vein, a debt relief initiative for poor countries should be put in place to support the resilience and recovery efforts of African countries.

“We also call for a fair and just energy transition which takes Africa’s specific needs into account, in particular industrialisation and universal access to electricity. More than 600 million Africans still do not have access to electricity.

“A partnership for stability
Peace and security will also be key priorities for our strengthened partnership. The threats are becoming increasingly transnational and complex. They are a problem for all of us in whatever form they take, including cyberattacks and hybrid attacks.

“We must continue to address these common threats together, including in Africa, and in particular in the fight against terrorism.

“We must continue working together, under the aegis of the African Union and the European Union, to better coordinate our efforts in this joint fight against a common enemy. Addressing this major challenge means beginning with the root causes, instability and radicalisation, in order to reach a long-term solution to the crises and build a real and lasting peace.

“Tested by the pandemic
The pandemic has highlighted our common vulnerabilities, our interdependence, and therefore the need to act together and in concert to tackle it and to better prepare ourselves for possible future health crises. Defeating COVID-19 remains an immediate priority.

“Europe has been working since the outset to organise and fund international solidarity on vaccines, in particular through the COVAX initiative. The EU and its Member States have so far provided almost 400 million doses worldwide, more than 85 % of them through COVAX.

“Having delivered more than 130 million doses to Africa, the EU is one of the continent’s biggest donors. The EU is also stepping up its support for vaccine administration, since the biggest challenge of increased supply will be to put in place vaccination plans.

“Going beyond solidarity on vaccine donation, a challenge that we must face together is the production of vaccines and other medical and pharmaceutical products in Africa to meet the continent’s basic needs. We welcome and support the projects already under way on the continent.

“The key is to take a practical approach: identifying and addressing obstacles and barriers to delivery, storage and administration of vaccines, and, of course, accelerating the development of local vaccine production capacity in Africa, by Africa and for Africa.

“Finally, we are convinced that international solidarity on pandemics and major health crises must be organised in a comprehensive, multi-sectoral and inclusive manner. We proposed and have actively promoted the idea of an international treaty on pandemics. These joint efforts by Europeans and Africans led to the World Health Assembly’s recent decision to open negotiations on a draft treaty, which is expected to be concluded in March 2024.

“An arc of peace
Our world is seeing a growing threat of conflict between blocs. In the face of this disturbing trend, we are convinced that Africa and Europe can work together to bring about a better and safer world for everyone, through dialogue and cooperation with respect for one another.

“It is in that spirit and with those goals that Africans and Europeans are rolling up our sleeves to work towards an exciting common future”.

France troops withdrawal from Mali

Brussels 17.02.2022 Ahead of the EU-Africa Union Summit President Macron announces French troops are withdrawing from Mali and will be stationed in other parts of the African region.
France and its allies in the long-term anti-jihadist operation in Mali have announced a “coordinated withdrawal” of their forces. A joint statement cited “multiple obstructions” by the country’s ruling “military junta”. (Image above: illustration).

Announcing the move during a Thursday news conference in Paris, Macron accused Mali’s ruling military junta of neglecting the fight against Islamic extremists and said it was logical for France to withdraw since its role is not to replace a sovereign state on the battlefield.

“Victory against terror is not possible if it’s not supported by the state itself,” the French leader said.
France has about 4,300 troops in the Sahel region, including 2,400 in Mali. The Barkhane anti-terrorist force is also involved in Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

Macron said the French withdrawal would be done “in an orderly manner” in coordination with the Malian military. France will start by closing military bases in the north of Mali, and the withdrawal will take between four or six months, he said.

Brussels: EU-African Union Summit

Brussels 17.02.2022 The leaders of the EU and the African Union (AU) as well as of their respective member states will meet for the sixth European Union – African Union summit in Brussels on 17 and 18 February 2022.
Ahead of the summit, EU heads of state or government will take part in a one-hour informal meeting of the members of the European Council at 12:30 (BXL time >UTC/GMT +1 hour) on the state of play of latest developments related to Russia and Ukraine.

Informal meeting of the members of the European Council:
The summit will present a unique opportunity to lay the foundations for a renewed and deeper AU-EU partnership with the highest political involvement and based on trust and a clear understanding of mutual interests. Leaders are expected to discuss how both continents can build greater prosperity. The aim is to launch an ambitious Africa-Europe Investment Package, taking into account global challenges such as climate change and the current health crisis. They should also be talking about tools and solutions to promote stability and security through a renewed peace and security architecture.

A series of thematic roundtables will also be organised. The following topics will be debated:

– growth financing
– health systems and vaccine production
– agriculture and sustainable development
– education, culture and vocational training, migration and mobility
– private sector support and economic integration
– peace, security and governance
– climate change and energy transition, digital and transport [connectivity and infrastructure]

EU and AU heads of state or government will be participating in the roundtables, together with a selected group of external guests who are experts in their respective fields.

A joint declaration on a joint vision for 2030 is expected to be adopted by the participants.

EU: Sahel needs more engagement

Brussels 15.11.2021 “The Sahel will also be part of our work today. Last night, there was another attack in Burkina Faso. 20 more people dead, killed. Our security starts in the Sahel and we had to engage more with the region” said the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell, while addressing press at the doorstep of the Europa building in Brussels, where the Council of the Ministers of foreign affairs takes place today, November 15.

An attack by insurgents killed 19 Burkina Faso military police and a civilian on Sunday, November 14, in the tri-border northern region where the West African nation is battling Islamist militants, Burkina Faso Security Minister Maxime Kone said.

Gunmen have killed at least 19 gendarmes and a civilian in northern Burkina Faso, in the tri-border region where the country has for years been battling armed groups.

Security Minister Maxime Kone told state media on Sunday the toll from the attack on a military police outpost near a gold mine in Inata was provisional.

“This morning a detachment of the gendarmerie suffered a cowardly and barbaric attack. They held their position,” Kone said, adding that 22 survivors had been found.

There were fears the death toll could rise.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, one of the deadliest against defence and security forces since Burkina Faso was gripped by conflict in 2015.

Brussels: Dr.Mukwege hospitalised

Brussels 26.10.2021 Sakharov Prize winner Doctor Denis Mukwege canceled all the appointments he had scheduled for this week on Monday, October 25. In particular, he was to be received at the Brussels parliament on Monday noon. And give several interviews on his new book on Tuesday, October 26, before attending the premiere of Thierry Michel’s film tonight (The Empire of Silence) in which he plays an important role. Its entire program was canceled for “medical reasons” according to its editor Gallimard.

Several people around Dr Mukwege confirm to Le Soir that he was hospitalised in Brussels “earlier than expected” without giving further details. “He is well, he is resting”, we are told to a good source by insisting well on the fact that a surgical intervention had been planned for some time but that the doctors considered that it had to be brought forward compared to the date initially set.

Denis Mukwege (66), Nobel Peace Prize 2018 for his fight against violence against women, is on tour in Europe on the occasion of the release of his new book: “La force des femmes” (Gallimard).

Since 1999, world-renowned Congolese gynaecologist Dr Denis Mukwege, has been fearless in his efforts to heal survivors of sexual violence in DRC and to advocate for ending the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war. “There will be no peace in DRC until the reign of impunity ends”, he stated at the launch of his petition in October 2020, calling for transitional justice in his country.

A doctor from the Democratic Republic of Congo has won Europe’s top human rights award – Sakharov Prize – for helping thousands of gang rape victims in the country.

EU: Post-Cotonou informal discussion

Brussels 29.09.2020 The African Union – European Union partnership, post-Cotonou agreement were on the top of the agenda of the informal meeting of EU Development Ministers the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell has chaired today.

Within the framework of the German EU Council Presidency, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Müller, together with the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, hosted an informal meeting of EU Development Ministers. One important issue for discussion was be the EU’s future relations with Africa. The meeting has also served as basis in preparation of the Formal Meeting of EU Development Ministers in November. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting took place virtually via tele-conference.

#SOTEU: africa-EU KEY parTNER

Brussels, 16.09.2020. In the annual State of the European Union #SOTEU address the European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen devoted special attention to the bloc partnership with African countries:
“”When I came into office, I chose for the very first trip outside the European Union, to visit the African Union, and it was a natural choice. It was a natural choice and it was a clear message, because we are not just neighbours, we are natural partners,” the European Commission president von der Leyen said.
“Three months later, I returned with my entire College to set our priorities for our new strategy with Africa. It is a partnership of equals, where both sides share opportunities and responsibilities.

“Africa will be a key partner in building the world we want to live in – whether on climate, digital or trade”.
The State of the European Union #SOTEU debate is a key moment to demonstrate the European Commission’s accountability towards the EU’s democratically elected representatives. It focuses on important issues like the coming economic recovery, climate change, youth unemployment and migration flows. This annual event is significant to promote a more transparent and democratic Union. It is an opportunity to bring the European Union closer to the citizens, highlighting the year’s core action points and challenges. Citizens’ rights and the democratic process are at the heart of this unique plenary debate.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis, MEPs have taken stock of the von der Leyen Commission’s achievements to date.
Ursula Von der Leyen has outlined the impact of the Commission’s work in mitigating the COVID-19 sanitary and economic crisis, and shared her vision for economic recovery, fighting climate change, and the situation in Europe’s neighbourhood.
Political group leaders have assessed the Commission’s work and set out their views, as this annual State of the Union debate is a chance for MEPs to scrutinise the work and the plans of the European Commission and help set the future direction for the EU.
The debate started with an address by President von der Leyen, followed by several rounds of interventions by political group speakers between which Ms von der Leyen answered to MEPs. The German Council Presidency also took the floor.

Libya: Macron expresses «grave concerns»

We met today in Brussels on the sidelines of the European Council to discuss the situation in Libya. We share serious concerns about rising military tensions in that country and the increased risk of regional escalation. We therefore call on all the Libyan parties and their foreign supporters to immediately cease the fighting and end the ongoing military escalation across the country” reads the text of the statement of President of France Macron, issued during the European Summit in Brussels on July 18.

We also call on all foreign actors to end their growing interference and to fully respect the arms embargo established by the United Nations Security Council. We take our responsibilities and are determined to ensure the full effectiveness of Operation Irini in order to prevent any escalation on the ground. We are ready to consider a possible use of sanctions if embargo violations at sea, on land or in the air continue and look forward to the proposals that the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and security policy will do to this end.

We support the efforts of the United Nations to obtain the signing of a lasting and credible ceasefire agreement within the framework of the negotiations under way within the 5 + 5 Committee. At this critical moment, we also encourage the United Nations to explore all options to reduce tensions, including those of a large disengagement of forces or even possible demilitarization in certain regions. We reaffirm the need for a special representative of the Secretary-General in Libya to be appointed promptly.

We remind all Libyan and international parties that a political settlement to the Libyan crisis must be fully inclusive and based on the conclusions of the Berlin Conference. We also recall that it is necessary to quickly lift the oil blockade and to guarantee a fair and transparent distribution of oil revenues for the benefit of all Libyans”.

Towards stronger EU-Africa partnership

The Council today approved conclusions on Africa, restating the paramount importance of a stronger EU-Africa partnership.

The conclusions note that Joint Communication Towards a comprehensive strategy with Africa constitutes an excellent basis on which to initiate a new ambitious partnership with Africa. The next EU-AU Summit will be a pivotal moment for renewing a comprehensive joint strategic approach that delivers on these aspirations.

The conclusions underline that a prosperous, peaceful and resilient Africa is an essential EU foreign policy objective, and that the EU is determined to strengthen its relationship with the African states and the African Union, in a way that is responsive both to European and African aspirations.

Such closer partnership should focus in particular on: multilateralism, peace, security and stability, sustainable and inclusive development, and sustainable economic growth.

The conclusions highlight that the COVID-19 pandemic has further demonstrated the need for a global response and a strong EU-Africa partnership. Recovery is an opportunity to build back better, greener and more resilient societies.

Finally the conclusions highlight that, working towards a joint strategy based on common objectives, the EU looks forward to stepping up an open and inclusive exchange with citizens, civil society, diaspora, young people, the private sector and top-level thinkers and decision-makers from both continents.

Image: archive Europa building, Brussels

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