Ahead of the EU-African Union summit, European Council President Charles Michel participated via video link in a debate on climate and energy in the Africa-Europe partnership, organised by the Africa Europe foundation on January 21, noting the more their societies are interconnected, the more they will be able to succeed together and to prepare a better world.
“We want more prosperity in Africa and in Europe. And it’s a common interest: more prosperity taking into account the global challenges – climate change, digital revolution, energy, infrastructure, health, and all those challenges,” Michel said. “The importance of financing, of channelling the money we need to make the right choices, and the importance of accountability. This is not the first time that we have made great statements, but we were not necessarily able to make sure that we were able to implement what we had decided together. That’s why this question of governance accountability, in my opinion, should be an important element for this future partnership,” he added.
Addressing Senegal’s President Macky Sall, who is due to take over the reins of the African Union (AU) in February, Michel called for a new alliance between Africa and Europe.
“I am very pleased to cooperate and coordinate a lot with our friend Macky Sall. We had the pleasure of being together in Senegal a few weeks ago. Macky, you were in Brussels a few weeks ago in December with some other African leaders to have informal exchanges of views, in order to prepare the next summit that we will have in Brussels in February,” Michel said.
Turning back to the EU-African Union summit, Michel said it will be an opportunity for a new paradigm, for a new approach, for a new alliance between Africa and Europe. “And this is why we have tried, in recent weeks, in recent months, to work a lot together – African friends, European friends. And thank you, also, for the role of this foundation in ensuring that we share the same views as much as possible, that we share the same priorities, and that we are ready to take the same measures, to decide together,” Michel said.
“It means that we need to agree – it will be one of the goals of the summit – on the principles for the future relationship between Africa and Europe. Mutual respect, sincerity, mutual interests, a role for the private sector, and how it is possible on both sides to improve governance.
Turning to security and stability, Michel said EU and Africa need to have a political dialogue to cooperate and to coordinate. Fom the European side, the EU plans to develop the tools that are useful to support and to help its African partners to develop African solutions to improve the level of stability and improve the level of security, he said.
Michel said the EU-African Union summit should be an important moment for the future relationship. “We have many challenges that we need to tackle and to address in common,” Michel said, adding, “And I’m very grateful again to all of you for your involvement and for your participation because what’s important is not only a meeting with the leaders – what is important is also the societies in Africa and in Europe”.