Debt: the urgent need for a global recovery initiative
During Monday’s Foreign Affairs Council with Development Ministers, we focused on the growing levels of debt that emerging and developing countries are facing due to the economic impact of the pandemic. We must tackle this problem in the coming months to avoid a serious rise in global poverty and inequality.
The growing indebtedness of many poor and middle-income countries is worrying. Developed countries have been hit very hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the developing and emerging world have much less fiscal space to deal with its consequences and a much more difficult access to funding. Some of them have already defaulted on their external debt. If we are not able to deal rapidly with this debt issue, poverty and global instability are likely to increase. It could even fuel a new global financial crisis.
Debt relief efforts for African countries: Council approves conclusions
The EU is committed to furthering international debt relief efforts for African countries.
The Council today approved a set of conclusions in response to a call from the European Council of 15-16 October 2020 to prepare a common approach in this respect.
The conclusions highlight the increasing debt vulnerability in low income countries, particularly in Africa, and underscore the EU's support for a coordinated international approach on debt relief efforts for African countries.
The Council welcomes the G20 – Paris Club Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), which offers a temporary debt moratorium to the poorest countries to help them manage the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its extension until 30 June 2021 with the possibility of a further extension by 6 months. It commits to a full and transparent implementation of this initiative.
G20 Summit: G20 leaders united to address major global pandemic and economic challenges
President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and President of the European Council, Charles Michel, represented the EU at the 15th G20 Leaders' summit hosted by Saudi Arabia on 21-22 November 2020.
G20 leaders met in virtual format to address the way forward how to tackle together the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, finance the development and deployment of a vaccine as well as continue the support to citizens and businesses struggling to cope with the aftermath of the pandemic.
President von der Leyen said: “I am glad that G20 leaders agreed to make Covid-19 vaccines available and affordable for all. But more funding is needed. This is why I called G20 Leaders to commit to fund 4.5 billion US dollars for the ACT-Accelerator by the end of the year. G20 leaders also agreed to maintain economic measures until the recovery is firmly on the way. As a lesson from the crisis we need to step up global preparedness. We will discuss this again in May 2021 at the joint G20 Global Health Summit in Italy. To build back a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient world we also need to step up actions to fight climate change. The EU leads the way to climate neutrality by 2050 and many G20 partners now have taken the same commitments.”
Next multiannual financial framework and recovery package: Council presidency reaches political agreement with the European Parliament
The German presidency of the Council today reached a political agreement with the European Parliament’s negotiators in talks aimed at securing the Parliament's consent to the next multiannual financial framework, the EU’s long-term budget.
The agreement has been reached following intensive consultations with the Parliament and the Commission that have been underway since the end of August. It complements the comprehensive financial package of €1 824.3 billion negotiated by EU leaders in July, which combines the next multiannual financial framework – €1 074.3 billion – and a €750 billion temporary recovery instrument, Next Generation EU (in 2018 prices).
"Our first duty is to safeguard our citizens"
On 12 November, President Charles Michel sent out the fourth issue of his newsletter, in which he informs citizens about the activities of the European Council. This time the President focuses on promoting our values and fighting terrorism.
There are two battles that must be fought. A battle of values, to defend and promote our freedoms... and a merciless operational battle against violent extremism, whether Islamist or otherwise.President Charles Michel
The newsletter is issued on a regular basis in English and French. It is available to all users subscribed to European Council alerts. Every issue contains a summary of President Michel's latest activities.
Parliament backs the renewed fisheries partnership with Senegal
Promoting a fisheries policy that fosters sustainable exploitation of fishery resources in the region
Ensuring EU vessels can continue to access Senegalese waters
MEPs gave their consent to concluding a renewed protocol offering opportunities to French, Spanish and Portuguese fishermen.
The text was approved with 524 votes in favour, 47 against and 115 abstentions.
Negotiations for a new five-year protocol began on 19 July 2019, and the agreed Sustainable Fisheries Partnership has applied provisionally since it was signed on 18 November 2019.
Remarks by Commissioner Stella Kyriakides at the press conference on Building a European Health Union
The past year has taught us how crucially important health is for each and every one of us.
It has shown us how fragile our societies are and how fast everything can be turned upside down by something so small that it is invisible to the naked eye.
It has taught us that health is a precondition for our societies and economies to function.
And it has reminded us of the value of solidarity and cooperation, and being united in diversity to overcome the biggest health crisis in modern times.
The health situation in one Member State is contingent on that of others. To minimise the negative impacts on people and business, we have to work together to address health threats.
Tanzania – Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the EU on the elections in Tanzania
The Tanzanian National Electoral Commission and Zanzibar Electoral Commission have declared the results of the elections.
Election day was well organised and peaceful in many parts of the country. Nonetheless, the European Union (EU) notes with regret the disruption of social media before, on and after election day, claims of opposition candidates that they did not benefit from a level playing field during the electoral process, as well as the limited possibilities for electoral observation. Reports of irregularities in some districts are also raising concern. These serious allegations have an impact on the transparency and overall credibility of the process. They should be processed through legal means of redress.
In Zanzibar, tensions were reported, with deadly violence, including allegations of excessive use of force by State organs. The EU hopes that it will be possible to lay the foundation for a sustainable reconciliation between all stakeholders, in order to contribute to long-lasting peace and stability in the archipelago.
The EU encourages an open, constructive and inclusive dialogue between the Government of Tanzania, opposition political parties and civil society, and recognises peaceful expressions of opinions as essential to multi-party democracy and civic freedoms.
Why does Africa matter and why should the EU invest in the EU-Africa partnership?
The EU’s relationship with Africa is a key priority for the new Commission, which launched earlier this year the basis for a new strategy with Africa. In his first video blog (“vlog”), HR/VP Josep Borrell elaborates on this and reflects on EU-Africa relations - following the European Council’s recent discussion on this subject.
The vlog focuses on five key topics: 1) The EU-Africa partnership and why it is important, 2) The impact of the coronavirus and how the EU and Africa cooperate on combatting the Covid-19 pandemic, 3) How to manage the partnership in practice, 4) The relationship with view to migration, 5) The implications of the EU Green Deal for EU-African relations.
In answering these questions, HR/VP Borrell underlines that the EU has to be ambitious, but realistic, should be clear about its interests, and that it is crucial to be concrete and visible to achieve results.
In addition to the written blog posts, the HR/VP’s personal Blog A Window on the World will as of now feature regularly vlogs on pertinent EU foreign policy issues presenting his view.
EU-African Union relations: joint communiqué of the AU Peace and Security Council and the EU Political and Security Committee
On 26 October 2020, the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (AU PSC) and the European Union (EU) Political and Security Committee (EU PSC) held their 12th Annual Joint Consultative Meeting, virtually, as part of their regular dialogue within the framework of Article 17 of the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, and the AU – EU partnership. The meeting was co-chaired by H.E. Ambassador Osama Abdelkhalek, Permanent Representative of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the AU and Chairperson of the AUPSC for October 2020 and H.E. Ambassador Sofie From- Emmesberger, Permanent Chair of the EU PSC.
The discussion during the 12th Joint Consultative Meeting focused on the situations in the Sahel region, Sudan and Somalia. The AU PSC and the EU PSC noted that October 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325. While much progress has been made with regards to women’s inclusion in peace processes, further efforts are required to advance implementation. […]