EU-Africa relations: the EU needs to renew its approach and create a new dynamic
By Jennifer Richard
Today, Renew Europe published and presented its position paper on the EU-Africa relations during a webinar. It is time to renew our vision for the EU-Africa partnership. Africa and Europe depend on one another and this should be reflected in Europe’s approach towards Africa.
« The forthcoming Summit between the African Union and the European Union must give a new dynamic to relations between our continents: all EU and AU Member States must be more involved in concrete projects aimed at providing joint responses to the challenges of our time. The world’s centre of gravity has shifted to Africa and it is time for all Europeans to see it as a continent of solutions, of innovation and oriented towards the future », declares Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, Renew Europe MEP and vice-president of the Committee on Development (DEVE).
The European Union must focus more on human development. Health, education and gender equality are fundamental rights and the key to eradicate poverty and inequalities. We have to bring financial support to schools and universities in Africa to guarantee can provide education to the next generations. We must draw lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic and fully engage ourselves to accelerate ongoing health reforms and put prevention at the top of the political agenda. Renew Europe calls for promotion of sexual education for young people and make progress on access to sexual and reproductive health services to avoid early pregnancies, HIV infections and ensure that women and girls have full control over their own bodies.
Renew Europe calls on the EU to encourage sustainable investment in Africa and to invest in sustainable agriculture which is a key sector improving food security and fighting against malnutrition. Building on this, the EU has to set up its support to African countries’ efforts to implement the Paris Agreement.
To counter those challenges, the European Union should use all the tools at its disposal, including an ambitious trade policy. Renew Europe considers that trade negotiations between the EU and African countries or African economic unions should serve as a platform to address issues like human rights, environment, digitalisation, gender equality or even rule of law. « Economic development and deepened trade relations between the EU and Africa is our common goal. Through trade, the EU can contribute to economic empowerment of African SMEs and women, which benefits all actors involved. Additionally, our trade relations can serve as a platform to contribute to the promotion of human rights and gender equality », adds Samira Rafaela, Renew Europe MEP and member of the Committee on International Trade (INTA).
Europe and Africa need a positive and comprehensive cooperation on migration and mobility that is in line with the values and interests of both continents. Renew Europe also calls on the EU to do much more to support democratic processes and empower democratic actors. For example, the promotion of the youth and the involvement of young people in democratic reforms should be enhanced.
« Africa is the strategic, fragile backdrop to European stability. The security and stability crisis that hits Africa is the consequence of unresolved development, human rights, social and economic challenges. Europe must necessarily show solidarity. Solidarity for these needs and for our own needs. African stability is crucial to the stability of Europe », explains Javier Nart, Renew Europe MEP who seats in the Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET).