9 March 2020
The ECR Group endorses the European Commission's EU-Africa Strategy.
ECR co-chairman Raffaele Fitto said:
“Europe and Africa require a new understanding between the two parties, one based on trust and mutual respect.
“We are firm believers in liberal markets, trade, entrepreneurship and freedom of opportunity as the best means for lifting individuals and communities out of poverty.
“We will always believe that engagement through well-targeted investment, training and trade are a far better and longer-lasting benefit to developing countries than self-perpetuating programmes of International Aid and Big Charity.
“We now need to look forward to a more equal, more open and more productive co-operation. One in which we each stop asking what we can get out of the other and begin thinking about what we can create together for the benefit of all.
“The challenges posed by the refugee crisis have had a significant impact and placed considerable strains on countries in both Africa and the EU. The EU must be bold in fighting against migrant smuggling and put forward a sustainable approach to dealing with this refugee crisis between Europe and Africa.
“It is time for the EU and its Member States to provide African countries with a long-term partnership which does not signify the one-sided investment currently offered by states such as China. The EU must now have the confidence to create a fresh and modern approach towards its Africa policy”.
The ECR Group had organised an Africa summit for the 4th of March with participants from across Africa, including the President of the Republic of Ghana Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development of Zimbabwe and the Minister of Trade and Industry from Rwanda. The Summit had to be postponed to July after the European Parliament announced it was closing its doors to visitors. The ECR Group deeply regrets that at the same time, a decision was made to go ahead with the extraordinary ENVI committee meeting with the invited external speaker Greta Thunberg. The Group believes this decision showcases to citizens that double standards apply and establishes a hierarchy of guests that are seemingly prioritised as being more important than others.
Speaking about the new EU Africa Strategy, ECR MEP and former Minister of Foreign Affairs in Poland Anna Fotyga, and organiser of the ECR Africa Summit, said:
“Many people here in Europe frequently – and quite mistakenly - talk of Africa as though it were one homogenous, uniform entity.
“A ‘one size fits all’ approach to this huge, diverse and sometimes bewildering continent will fail even more spectacularly than it does in Europe - and that is something my political group campaigns against day in day out.”
“I welcome the strategy unveiled today by the college. I regret that the ECR Africa Summit was cancelled by Parliament president David Sassoli at the last possible point of notice. Our political Group has constantly been engaged in the security, stability and development of Africa. Last year’s summit confirmed our point of view, we intend to continue this policy.”
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