EU-South Africa Summit on 25 July in Bordeaux – summary of the conclusions

The EU-South Africa Summit was held on 25 July in Bordeaux, France. It was the first summit to be organised between South Africa and the EU since the establishment of the Partnership in May 2007.

The Republic of South Africa is the main regional power in Africa and a member of the group of emerging countries. It is one of the drivers of growth in the continent and a success story that efutes Afro-pessimism. The reference framework for EU-South African relations is the strategic partnership and action plan adopted jointly in May 2007.

The importance of the relationship with South Africa justified the organisation of an event at the highest political level. This was the first summit organised between the EU (in the Trio Presidency format) and South Africa, represented by President Thabo Mbeki, and the first summit organised under the French Presidency.

This summit provided an opportunity to review the implementation of the strategic partnership between the EU and South Africa, particularly in the areas of peace and security, science and technology, transport and education.

The three presidents (European Commission, France, South Africa) discussed:

SA-EU Strategic Partnership:
The Presidents welcomed that since the establishment of a Strategic Partnership between South Africa and the EU in May 2007, bilateral relations have developed into an enhanced mutually beneficial partnership, based on strengthened political dialogue and cooperation in a wide range of economic and other areas. The partnership is a reflection of the shared values and interests of South Africa and the EU, and an instrument to jointly pursue both sides’ commitment to promote liberty, peace, security and stability in the world, and Africa in particular.

The Presidents agreed to increase coordination and cooperation on peace and security through regular meetings between the EU Political and Security Committee and South Africa. The Presidents identified the following possible areas for enhanced bilateral cooperation in the future: energy, space, transport, health, ICT, migration and social dialogue.

The Presidents welcomed South Africa’s recent participation in the EU Framework Programmes for Research where SA researchers are participating in more than 170 projects supported by a direct EU
investment of more than € 20 million in South Africa. They noted the € 30 million Sector Budget Support funds provided to South Africa for strengthening science and technology interventions for
poverty alleviation.

The Presidents also appreciated the successful outcome of the side event on “Water Research for Sustainable Development” and agreed on the main orientations to strengthen research cooperation, also in support of the Science, Information Society and Space Partnership of the Africa – EU Joint Strategy and the new Southern African Development Community (SADC) Science and Technology Protocol.

The Presidents welcomed the development of a window for South African students and scholars to participate in the Erasmus Mundus programme and enrol in European universities. The Presidents agreed to pave the way for enhanced customs cooperation and to start with the launch of a customs cooperation project in order to share best practices on a wide range of issues, including on the implementation of the World Customs Organisation’s SAFE Framework of Standards.

Regional/security issues:
Both sides welcomed the adoption of the Joint EU-Africa Strategy at the Second EU-Africa Summit held in Lisbon, on 9 and 10 December 2007, and expressed their determination to work towards its full implementation. In this context, the meeting welcomed the intention of South Africa and the EU to work towards increased cooperation between the EU and the AU to promote peace and security on the African continent as an essential condition for development. In this regard, the Presidents noted with satisfaction the progress made in the broader Great Lakes region and committed to further cooperate to enhance the prospect for durable peace in Burundi.

The Presidents also welcomed the adoption by the EU of the EU Agenda for Action on the MDGs. The Presidents exchanged views on the current situation in Zimbabwe. They expressed their concern at the prevailing situation and its negative impact on the sub-region. In light of the negative reports by SADC, the AU and the Pan-African Parliament observers on the run-off election held on 27 June 2008, they further stressed the need to create an environment conducive for democracy. The EU recalled its view that a transitional Government should be established, respecting fully the will of the Zimbabwean people as expressed on 29 March 2008, which resulted in MDC and M. Tsvangirai leading the presidential poll, with a view to the organization of early free, fair and democratic elections.

The meeting also discussed the question of migration with the aim to promote mutual understanding
and cooperation on the matter. Both sides recognise the multidimensional challenges of migration and the need to cooperate on addressing these challenges. Both sides agreed that migration requires a global approach and welcomed the idea to establish a structured dialogue, covering issues such as legal and illegal migration, including admission rules and respecting dignity and rights of migrants, capacity building as well as the linkages between migration and development.

Economic Partnership:
Both sides recognised the positive role that the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) continues to play in increasing exchanges between South Africa and the EU, creating new areas of cooperation and establishing a new development framework. They welcomed the revision undertaken in 2007 and looked forward to its adoption in the near future.

Following on the discussion between the participants at the Lisbon Summit, the Presidents engaged in an open and frank exchange of views on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and the SADC EPA group of countries1. Both the EU and South Africa share the objective that the EU SADC EPA should promote development and regional integration in Africa, specifically in SADC and SACU. The Presidents confirmed their commitment to bridge the prevailing differences and reach an outcome that is balanced and beneficial for all parties.

In line with the Joint Africa-EU Strategy and NEPAD, the meeting emphasised the important role that the private sector can play to drive Africa’s development. The Presidents discussed the challenges to make the business environment in Africa more conducive to investment, employment creation, growth and sustainable development, and adopted the attached joint political statement on the subject. In this regard emphasis was given to enhancing investment in the following sectors: energy, ICT, water, agriculture and transport. They also recognized that improving the functioning and efficiency of capital markets in Africa is an important driver for private sector growth. The Presidents also expressed support for the role played, i.e. by the European Investment Bank, EU – Africa Trust Fund for Infrastructure, African Development Bank and the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa in driving investment in Africa.

The consequences for the developing world of rising food prices were also discussed.

Global issues:
Climate change is a vital challenge to humanity and as such needs to be addressed by both developing and developed countries in accordance with the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities. The Presidents emphasised their shared commitment to the objectives and principles of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol. They reaffirmed their utmost
determination to conclude negotiations on a strengthened global climate change agreement by 2009 and decided to issue the attached political statement.

The Presidents highlighted the need for enhanced energy efficiency and security and recommended to step up cooperation in this field, both building on the newly launched working group on coal, clean coal and carbon capture and storage. The meeting agreed to the creation of an Energy Dialogue Forum to oversee the work of these groups, give a structure to bilateral contacts and encourage and facilitate further co-operation in such areas as energy efficiency and renewable energies.

Declaration on Climate Change – pdf
Declaration by the EU-South Africa summit regarding the private sector – pdf
Joint statement by President of South Africa Thabo MBeki, President of France Nicolas Sarkozy, as President of the Council of the European Union, and Commission President José Manuel Barroso on the occasion of the first EU-South Africa Summit in Bordeaux, France – pdf

Read also an analysis of the EU-South Africa Summit by Romy Chevallier – South Africa: an international actor and partner for the EU – html

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