Following the first exchange of views on the new comprehensive EU-Africa strategy today in Plenary, the Socialists and Democrats Group welcome the constructive and positive approach outlined by the Commissioner, Jutta Urpilainen, and reiterate the crucial need to focus on a partnership on equal footing with African Countries based on trust and ownership of responsibility. We want to see allocated investments that will boost economic growth while respecting democracy and human rights within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The S&D DEVE coordinator, Udo Bullmann, stated:
“Our Group is excited about the opportunity to open a new chapter of EU-Africa relations. We call on the Commission to use the upcoming EU-Africa Strategy as a tool to lay the foundations for a new partnership of equals in the spirit of the United Nations Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals. The new strategy must contribute to building a more sustainable, more prosperous, and safer future for Africa, Europe, and the entire global community.
“If we want to achieve change for the better and in line with the United Nations Agenda 2030, we must put the fight against inequalities at the heart of our actions. Only by fighting inequalities in all their forms - within societies and in EU-Africa relationships - can we contribute to the empowerment of our partners in the global South and engage with them to define a new model of sustainable development for all.
“This aim is compromised if the new EU-Africa strategy focuses on what Europe perceives as its short-term economic and security interests only. We therefore expect the Commission not to give in to obstructive pressures and to propose a balanced approach to future EU-Africa relations instead.”
The S&D vice-president responsible for foreign affairs, Kati Piri, added:
"The S&D Group has always advocated for a paradigm shift in EU-Africa relations. Africa is a true and natural partner to Europe and our cooperation must demonstrate a total absence of past stereotypes. This debate provides an opportunity to strengthen a mutually beneficial partnership between our two continents. We are delighted that the new Commission has shown willingness to embrace this approach, which, we are confident, will be reflected in the final EU-Africa Strategy.
“ ‘With Africa’ means establishing a true and equal partnership. This means that economy and migration flows management will certainly be important factors in our future relationship but they cannot represent the only and major factors. The EU has the political duty to diverge from the merely ´economic power’ model put forward by other global actors such as China or Arabic Countries.
“The partnership we want to establish and develop with African Countries must drastically address inequalities, bring stability in the fight against terrorism, advocate for fair trade and sustainable agriculture and promote equal access to quality education for youth. The root causes of poverty and inequalities must be eradicated.
“These are all goals at the core of the SDGs, which must symbolise our guide and polar star.
“Europe and Africa share the same threats, but also the same opportunities. Together, and only together, we shall overcome them for the good of our citizens and younger generations.”