Commenting on the Council conclusions for a renewed impetus on the Africa-EU Partnership and ahead of the World Refugee Day of 20 June, S&D Group president Gianni Pittella said:
“The conclusions on the Africa-EU Partnership adopted today by the Council shows that member states finally recognise that the EU has a genuine strategic interest in deepening and reinforcing its relations with our African partners. However, a more constructive approach is needed based on a long-term strategy.
“It is time that the EU adopts a more constructive and tailor-made approach which can also reflect the major changes the continent is undergoing. Most importantly, the EU needs a long-term vision to work together with our African partners in order to build a peaceful and stable Africa and Europe together. We need to recognise that the security and the prosperity of the EU depends on that of our African partners.
“A new partnership means that Europeans shift their focus to development through investments, democracy, good governance, and education, whilst Africans also have their share of responsibility. To this end, the implementation of a long-term EU development plan for Africa is essential.
“The conclusions are also a key step for the EU-Africa summit in November which will focus this year on the theme ‘Investing in youth’, just as the S&D Group Africa week 2017 will address the issues of the youth and the future of Africa this year (25th to 28th September in Brussels). Young people in Africa are a key priority for us. Investing in their future is vital. Booming demographic trends brings opportunities but also major challenges in terms of economic development and job creation, security, democracy and migration. We must step up efforts to forge our partnership and cooperation with Africa on migration. It must start by addressing the root causes through creating better livelihoods and decent work in order to avoid that young people risk their lives attempting to flee to Europe.”