The European Business Council for Africa

Thank you Chancellor; first of all I would like to join in the praise and pay tribute to your tenacity and wisdom, which are sorely needed in today’s world. In direct reference to Moussa Faki’s remarks, I would also like to pay tribute to your lasting commitment not only to breaking down walls, but above all to building bridges.

This meeting is effective proof of our ambition to build bridges, to join together for this Compact with Africa, as has been highlighted by several speakers.

High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell also announced
the appointments of new Heads of Delegations of the European Union, who will take up their duties as of 1 September :

IV. TURKEY

14. The European Council reverted to the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and the European Union’s relations with Turkey, and recalled the EU’s strategic interest in a stable and secure environment in the Eastern Mediterranean and in the development of a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship with Turkey. It welcomes the de-escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean, which needs to be sustained in line with the statement by the Members of the European Council of 25 March 2021.

15. The European Council reiterates the EU’s readiness to engage with Turkey in a phased, proportionate and reversible manner to enhance cooperation in a number of areas of common interest, subject to the established conditionalities set out in March and in previous European Council conclusions.

16. In line with this framework, it takes note of the start of work at technical level towards a mandate for the modernisation of the EU-Turkey Customs Union and recalls the need to address current difficulties in the implementation of the Customs Union, ensuring its effective application to all Member States. Such a mandate may be adopted by the Council subject to additional guidance by the European Council.

The Strategic Dialogue between the Republic of Kenya and the European Union was launched on the occasion of the meeting between H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, C.G.H., President of the Republic of Kenya, and H.E. Charles Michel, President of the European Council, held on 21 June 2021 in Brussels. This upgrade of the Kenya - European Union relations builds on the meeting between the two counterparts on 9 March 2021 at State House, Nairobi, and the renewed European Union Strategy for the Horn of Africa, adopted in May 2021, in which the European Union confirmed its readiness to step up its relationship with Kenya.

Visiting Brussels on 4 June 2021, His Excellency Mr Kais Saied, the President of the Republic of Tunisia, held talks with His Excellency Mr Charles Michel, the President of the European Council, Her Excellency Ms Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission and His Excellency Mr David Maria Sassoli, the President of the European Parliament. These meetings provided an opportunity to underline the depth of historical ties between the European Union and Tunisia dating back almost half a century in a spirit of constantly evolving strategic partnership. 

This new phase of bilateral relations is based on shared values and a mutual commitment to strengthening political, economic and cultural ties between the two shores of the Mediterranean.

The talks, which took place in a very cordial atmosphere, focused on young people, education, culture and economic relations, which have been some of the key areas of cooperation between Tunisia and Europe in the last few years. Delivering on the priorities announced in the European Communication on the renewed partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood and confirmed by the Council conclusions of April 2021 was also at the heart of these discussions. The two sides invoked the socio-economic impact of the crisis linked to the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic and social reforms needed to revive economic activity and growth. 

Today's initialling of the new Partnership Agreement between the European Union (EU) and members of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS, formerly known as the ACP Group of States) by the chief negotiators, International Partnerships Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen, and Togo's Foreign Minister Robert Dussey, marks the formal conclusion of the negotiations of the Post Cotonou Agreement, setting the political, economic and sectorial cooperation framework for the next twenty years.

Commissioner for International Partnerships and EU chief negotiator, Jutta Urpilainen, said: "This new and comprehensive partnership with the largest group of partner countries is a major political achievement and marks a turning point. In tune with the new international realities and challenges, the Agreement is expected to be game-changing in strengthening the EU's bilateral relations with each individual OACP State and their respective regions, positioning the OACPS-EU partnership as an international force to advance common ambitions on the global stage."

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) today received the European Union (EU)'s contribution of SDR 141 million (equivalent to €170 million or US$199 million) to the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT), which provides grants for debt service relief to countries hit by catastrophic events, including public health disasters such as COVID-19.

Jutta Urpilainen, European Commissioner for International Partnerships, said: “Through this contribution to the CCRT, Team Europe continues to stand in solidarity with its most vulnerable partners. In this difficult period, the resources freed up can provide social services for the most vulnerable people, such as access to essential healthcare and education for young people, including girls. Team Europe's Global Recovery Initiative is working to provide debt relief and sustainable investment for the SDGs.

The EU's generous contribution of €183 million is critical to help the world's most vulnerable countries cope with the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and continue providing health care, economic and social support for their people. I am grateful to the EU and its member states for their support and strong partnership. I urge other countries to contribute to the CCRT so we can in turn support our most vulnerable member countries,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva noted.

03/04/2021 – HR/VP Blog - The humanitarian situation in the Ethiopian Tigray region remains very serious. This conflict threatens also to destabilise the whole Horn of Africa. I have asked Pekka Haavisto, Finnish Minister of Foreign Affairs, to travel to Ethiopia to repeat our requests to the government and assess the situation. For the EU, helping to stop the human right abuses in the Tigray region and restore peace in Ethiopia is a high priority.

Five months into the conflict, the situation in the Ethiopian Tigray region remains alarming. Active hostilities are ongoing in some parts of the federated state and humanitarian aid remains very limited because of fighting, highly fluid security situation and the low capacity of humanitarian actors to address the security risk effectively.

The European Union Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa (EUTF for Africa) has launched today a virtual exhibition to celebrate its five years. The virtual exhibition “Stories from Africa” displays the achievements of the EUTF for Africa in the fields of migration, governance and conflict prevention, resilience, and the creation of employment and economic opportunities.

The EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, introduced the virtual exhibition by highlighting the impact of the EUTF on the cooperation with African partners: “After five years, the EUTF for Africa continues to demonstrate its added value, from a policy and partnership building perspective, but also by making a difference where it counts the most: on the ground in the real lives of people. Its valuable experience will feed into future programmes focusing on root causes of migration and forced displacement.”

Europe and Africa must move away from a donor-recipient relationship, Parliament says, as MEPs vision for a deeper relationship between the two continents.

On Thursday, MEPs adopted a wide-ranging strategy for a new EU-Africa partnership by 460 votes in favour, with 64 votes against and 163 abstentions.

The strategy emphasises that human development must be at the centre of future EU-Africa relations, prioritising education, including teacher training, reducing early school leaving, and concentrate on the inclusion of girls. A future EU-Africa strategy should also aim to improve health care and national health systems.

Additionally, MEPs call for cooperation on issues such as the green transition, energy, digital transformation, sustainable jobs, good governance and migration, as already identified by the Commission and the European External Action Service.