by Jennifer Richard
On the 14th of April, Renew Europe through its RENEWPAC Delegation hosted a high-level conference focused on EU — Africa relations. Over 30 high-level speakers from the two continents exchanged views during this day conference on a broad set of common challenges. The President of the Republic of Seychelles Wavel Ramkalawan reminded the EU and Africa must draw the lesson learnt of which is the fact that we are all weak. Renew Europe could not more agree.
Former Foreign Affairs Minister and former EU Commissioner Louis Michel was also present during this Conference and considered the EU and Africa are the continuity of one another. Here again, Renew Europe is convinced of this. Our group strongly believes that the EU and Africa must going beyond the donor-recipient perspective. The two continents have to seize the opportunity to strengthen their links. It is by political and human exchanges that we will enable to better understand each other.
“Multilateralism should give the priority to all solutions that might help us overcome global challenges in the areas of security, climate and trade. Within these areas, we have to set rules that are stronger than all of us”, explains Charles Goerens, Renew Europe Coordinator in the Committee on Development and who hosted a panel on the cooperation between the two continents.
Health must be at the heart of the EU — Africa Partnership. The pandemic demonstrates, more than never, that provide the right to access health services is a duty. “We must draw the lessons of the pandemic and put human development at the heart of our Partnership with Africa starting with health. The strengthening of health systems and universal coverage must be the priorities”, says Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, Renew Europe MEP who lead an important report on the new EU-Africa strategy.
The fight for gender equality is a priority for Renew Europe. Empowering women and girls benefit economic growth, social progress and human development. “African women are leading change in the African continent. They represent the most active and innovative players in the society, although they still face huge barriers of gender inequality and discrimination. The EU in its partnership with Africa has a responsibility to recognise and prioritise their transformative role”, says Soraya Rodriguez, chair of the Delegation for relations with the Pan-African Parliament and member of Renew Europe group. Universal education must also be at the top of our priorities.
Trade and investment will also play an essential role in the COVID recovery and has the potential to concretise the EU’s ambitions to deepen EU — Africa partnerships. “The aim of the trade relationship between the two continents must be to ensure that the benefits of trade are shared evenly and that trade cooperation goes hand in hand with efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”, declares Barry Andrews, Renew Europe member of the Committee on International trade.