EU vows to strengthen relations with Africa

08:14, November 11, 2010      

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The European Commission presented proposals on Wednesday for a consolidation of the relations between the European Union (EU) and Africa.

Ahead of the Africa-EU summit, due to be held on November 29 and 30 in Libya, the European Commission adopted a communication detailing the progress and challenges that characterize Africa-EU relations.

The first objective of the two continents' partnership is to work together to tackle threats to peace and security, including emerging threats such as terrorism, piracy or trafficking.

The partnership also aims at promoting democracy, rule of law and human rights through dialogue as well as cultural cooperation.

To boost the economy, the two blocs will have to focus on trade, regional integration and infrastructure.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGS) will remain at the heart of the two continent's cooperation, as efforts still need to be achieved in the fight against poverty in Africa.

Africa and Europe will deepen dialogue on access to reliable and sustainable energy as well as on growing energy needs and infrastructures. The partnership will focus on the promotion of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Food security, sustainable water supply and extreme weather phenomena are major issues that require an African-EU joint effort. The partnership aims at supporting a continental pan-African approach and response to climate challenges, as the continent is vulnerable when it comes to climate change.

The two blocs will also address the issues of migration, mobility and employment at two levels, namely dialogue and concrete initiatives and actions.

Meanwhile, Africa and Europe will cooperate on scientific research and technology as a way to contribute to economic and social growth, while collaboration in space applications will help address challenges facing the African continent such as water and food security, monitoring impacts of climate change, healthcare and education.

The commission finally recognized that the EU-Africa Partnership needs to evolve further, and therefore proposed to focus development cooperation in support of inclusive and sustainable growth in Africa.

"Strengthening and deepening EU-Africa relations is a key priority during my mandate. Africa is not just a beneficiary of the EU, but it is an important partner on a number of major regional and international issues of common interest such as regional security [..] and global governance such as climate change," said Catherine Ashton, high representative for foreign affairs and security policy.

The commission's proposals will contribute to shaping the Action Plan on the implementation of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy, which was launched in 2007, that will be adopted during the summit.

Source: Xinhua


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