Empower Africa: MEPs vote on strategy for a new EU-Africa partnership | New
On Thursday, MEPs adopted a broad strategy on a new EU-Africa partnership by 20 votes, with two votes against and three abstentions. The strategy emphasizes the need to go beyond simple cooperation on issues such as green transition, energy, digital transformation, sustainable jobs, good governance and migration.
In addition to addressing these areas, listed by the Commission and the European External Action Service, human development must be at the heart of future EU-Africa relations, said MEPs, who welcome this new approach to relations. The future partnership should prioritize education, including teacher training, reducing early school leaving and focusing on the inclusion of girls. It should also aim to improve health care and national health systems.
The EU-Africa relationship must “go beyond the donor-recipient relationship”. Instead, the EU and Africa should cooperate on an equal footing, empowering African nations to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, curb climate change and promote gender equality, among other goals. To achieve this, MEPs call for substantial funds to be allocated to the next external financial instrument NDICI.
Expectations for a future strategy
The committee’s expectations for the future EU-Africa strategy include:
- long-term financial and technical support from the EU to African countries to boost adaptation to climate change;
- EU support for African regional integration to help reduce dependence on foreign imports;
- Africa must be supported by the EU in its ambitions as a continental free trade area;
- sexual and reproductive health and rights to be protected by the EU in the new partnership;
- international lenders, such as the IMF and the World Bank, to do more to reduce debt; and
- the partnership must prioritize the human dignity of refugees and migrants.
Reporter Chrysoula Zacharopoulou (Renew, FR), said: “Europe and Africa need each other; a new equal partnership must reflect this. Together, we can improve sustainability, tackle poverty, injustice and inequality, protect biodiversity and tackle climate change as well as tackle global health issues. Empowering women and young people is the key to our relationship: they are the future. They will not only play a decisive role in this new partnership but also on the African continent itself.
The Plenary Assembly will discuss and vote on the draft resolution during the March plenary session. The text will contribute to the discussion of the future EU-Africa strategy. The process will conclude with the adoption of the joint strategy at the EU-African Union summit, to be held later this year.
In 2020, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced the renewal of EU-Africa relations.