According to a EU press release Karel De Gucht, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid is in South Africa today for the second EU-South Africa Summit. Global issues from climate change, the financial crisis to peace and security matters in Africa and beyond are to be discussed.
Ahead of the Copenhagen climate change talks and the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh, these talks will seek to build converging approaches between the EU and South Africa as a leading player from the African continent. In the margins of the Summit, Karel De Gucht and South African Minister Rob Davies will launch a € 100 million Employment Creation Fund, an important EU contribution to increasing employment opportunities and skills development in the South African economy.
Karel De Gucht stated: “This is the first of our summits to be hosted in South Africa and it comes at a crucial time for us all: Europe, South Africa and the world. We are just days away from critical G20 discussions in Pittsburgh on the global financial crisis and just weeks away from vital discussions on climate change in Copenhagen. South Africa is a key partner in both of these discussions and this summit provides us with a platform to begin the work needed to finding solutions that benefit every continent. This spirit of co-operation already exists in an impressive range of political, trade and economic matters, but also on issues such as science and technology, energy, migration or health. I am confident that this first Summit hosted by South Africa will be another crucial step in strengthening our Strategic Partnership.”
In respect of tackling climate change, yesterday the European Commission set out an ambitious global finance plan to help developing countries combat climate change. The EU recognises the need to increase confidence between industrialised, emerging and developing countries in order to reach a strengthened and effective climate change agreement at the forthcoming Copenhagen meeting. The EU hopes that common positions can be identified with South Africa as a country which can play an essential bridge-building role in the negotiations.
In addition, the EU and South Africa will also seek to develop coordinated responses to fight the negative consequences of the global economic crisis, which has strongly affected the African continent. The EU has committed increased resources to the IMF (€ 75 billion) and is proposing further specific initiatives amounting to €2 billion, mainly focused on infrastructure and food.
The EC is the most important donor in South Africa, with an allocation of € 980 million for 2007-2013. Development assistance planned for 2009-2010 comprises a major budget support programme in the area of primary education (over €122M, the largest EC sector budget programme disbursed so far in South Africa) and the establishment of a specific window for South African students and academics to attend European Universities under the Erasmus Mundus scheme (€ 5M). A programme on Youth Empowerment through Culture and Sport (€ 10M) will be launched in connection with the 2010 FIFA World Cup hosted by South Africa.