African Union-EU Summit: Parliaments and people must stay at the heart of Africa-EU relations

Pittella  EU and Africa summit

On the eve of the African Union and European Summit, a strong S&D delegation took part in Abidjan at the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) and the European Parliament Summit, which adopted today an appeal to reaffirm the importance of the role of national and transnational parliaments, as well as of the parliamentary assemblies, in the democratic process and a renewed co-operation between EU and Africa.

The S&D Group president Gianni Pittella MEP said:

“The Pan-African Parliament and the European Parliament Summit adopted an appeal that put the parliaments of both continents at the heart of the relations between Africa and the European Union. African and European heads of state and government must listen the voice of the people, especially young people and women, who ask ambitious and concrete proposals from the summit and not vague declarations and promises.

“The EU and Africa must deepen their partnership and co-operation in an open, transparent, inclusive, and forward-looking process that supports internationally shared values in order to achieve peace, stability, democracy and prosperity on both continents.

“We call upon the AU and EU to address the untenable situation of refugees in Libya, to put an end to the inhuman treatment in the camps and any cases of slavery. A short-term strategy on Africa, based solely on a security-based approach, will not solve the root causes of irregular migration flows. EU and AU member states must ensure that any migratory movement is safe, legal and voluntary.

“Overcoming the root causes of migration requires massive joint sustainable investments to reduce poverty, create decent jobs and mobilise the entrepreneurial potential of people, in particular young people and women, in a sustainable manner. We need to support the development of SMEs, the continental integration process, notably through accelerated infrastructure development, energy, industrialisation and investment, such as the EU External Investment Plan for Africa.

“The prosperity of the African continent is also conditioned by a peaceful and secure environment, more investments in education and health sectors, the full implementation of the Paris climate change agreement, fair trade agreements, good governance, transparent electoral processes and the protection of fundamental rights. If we want this summit to be successful, African and European leaders must take strong commitments on all these goals in the framework of the SDGs.”

Cecile Kyenge, S&D negotiator at the PAP-EP Summit and ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly vice-president, said:

“This summit is strategic for our political group. Most of the priorities of the youth declaration at the S&D Group's Africa Week 2017 event, endorsed by the Group, have been successfully integrated in the final appeal to the heads of state. We have to change the narrative of our partnership: Migration has to be safe, legal and voluntary. We must recognise the outstanding role of the diaspora in bringing positive development to promote peace, democracy and good governance.

“Strengthening political dialogue through parliamentary inter-relations needs to be strengthened and must be inclusive and multi-stakeholder oriented. Our partnership must be guided by new economic flows, evolving strategic interactions with stakeholders and including the participation of women, young people and civil society.”