S&Ds in Ethiopia: Pittella "EU and Africa share the same future. A political relationship is key to addressing common global challenges"
In the context of the S&D delegation visit to Ethiopia, S&D president Gianni Pittella and MEPs Cécile Kyenge and Norbert Neuser called for a stronger partnership between the EU and Africa to address global challenges. The S&D delegation met the Ethiopian prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, representatives of the African Union including the commissioner for social affairs and migration, Mustapha Kaloko, and representatives of civil society.
Concluding the visit, S&D president Gianni Pittella said:
"Europe and Africa are united by their common future. This future could be one of threats and dangers, but it is also a future of great opportunities for peace and development; it is up to the EU and to the European governments to decide the shape this future will take. We firmly believe that African countries and the African Union must become one of the most strategic and close political partners of Europe. Migration, peace, security, climate change, counter-terrorism, development and education; Europe shares the same challenges with Africa, and with Africa we must address all of them.
"Let's develop a concrete and long-term strategy not for Africa, but with African countries; it is in our interests. We must realise that terrorism and migration flows are the direct result of the extreme poverty and violence, wars and human exploitation, famine and drought in Africa. These are the root causes and together we must eradicate them.
"It is no longer acceptable that in managing the refugee crisis, the EU will grant €6 billion to Turkey while at the Valletta summit it was decided to devote only €1.8 billion over five years to the whole of Africa to manage the migration flow. EU governments must revise this approach once and for all.
"In this context, Ethiopia is a key player for the stabilisation of the region. It is impressive what this country is delivering in terms of hosting, welcoming and integrating of over 700,000 refugees; an impressive expression of solidarity. The democratisation process in Ethiopia must however be supported in order to deeply reinforce democracy, human rights and a real freedom of the press. In Ethiopia, as in the rest of Africa, development cannot be detached from democracy."
Cécile Kyenge MEP, ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly vice-president, stated:
"A new era of closer relations must be opened between Europe and Africa. A new era based on long-term strategic and political co-operation; no longer just on emergencies such as migration. Common challenges need a common approach. Africa is affected by 80% of all migration flows. In Ethiopia as in the rest of the continent, Europe should support policies for deeper integration through training opportunities and reinforced integration into the labour market.
"Furthermore, we call on African countries to improve their democratic systems, not only by the traditional confrontations among political parties, but also by allowing regional and local organisations to contribute to the political and economic wellbeing of society.
"Finally, we urge EU countries to encourage the so-called circular diaspora, backing migrants based in Europe willing to come back to their own countries."
Norbert Neuser MEP, S&D DEVE co-ordinator, added:
"During our first meetings with the African Union in Addis, we have insisted that democracy, rule of law and the respect for human rights must be at the heart of relations between the EU and Africa.
"Our visit comes at a crucial time as we are working together to redefine a follow-up framework to these relations which will enable us to address our common challenges together for the benefit of all African and European citizens. Common problems, common solutions."