Fourth AU-EU College-to-College Meeting Calls for Strong Partnership to Enhance Economic Growth

AU website. The Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Mr. Jean Ping, says the relationship between the European Union and the African Union Commission remains very strong as the strategic partnership between the two institutions is based on common objectives, mutual interest and respect. “I think this partnership is progressing in the right direction especially as the two parties are fully committed to ensure the well being of both populations”. Mr. Ping was speaking on Tuesday 8 June 2010, while addressing the Fourth AU-EU College-to-College (C2C) meeting, currently holding at the headquarters of the African Union Commission, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The meeting took place in the presence of Mr. Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the AUC.

Chairperson Ping highlighted that the 2010 edition of the joint EC-AU C2C meeting is holding less than three weeks before the G8 and G20 Summits billed for Canada under the theme: “Revitalization of Renaissance”. He said the C2C meeting is an opportunity to enhance institutional cooperation between the two organizations, holding as it is at a time when the world presents different opportunities and challenges, particularly in the area of economic growth and sustainable development. This, he said would give fresh impetus to the implementation of the Africa-EU Strategy.

Quoting one of the founding fathers of Europe, Jean Monnet, the Chairperson of the AU Commission said “what is most important is not to be optimistic or pessimistic, but what matters is the commitment”. Still quoting Mr. Monnet, Mr. Ping added that « well established institutions can accumulate knowledge that is transferred to the next generations successively but just as nothing is possible without men, nothing is durable without institutions”. (See complete speech of Mr. Ping on the AU Website: www.africa-union.org)

Addressing participants, Mr. José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission said the year 2007 is remembered as the year the Lisbon Summit took Africa-EU relations up to a new strategic level, leaving behind old stereotypes, and breaking with the donor-recipient relationship of the past.

2010, Mr. Barroso said, is the defining moment for both Africa and Europe to measure the achievement of the eight thematic partnerships agreed in Lisbon in 2007. “We have a collective obligation towards the people of our continents to bring concrete results”, he noted, adding that this 4th meeting of the two Commissions constitutes an important milestone in taking this process forward and in preparing the 3rd Africa–EU Summit.

“In my second mandate at the helm of the European Commission, I express my determination to continue our pioneering work with Africa, in particular on achieving the MDGs, and making a real impact on the challenges of food and water security, health and education” President Barroso emphasized. He further recommended that Africa should be treated as one. “We should encourage all actors, Member States, the RECs and stakeholders to treat north and Sub-Saharan African as one” he stressed. (See Mr. Barroso’s complete speech on the AU Website: www.africa-union.org).

The EC delegation led by Mr. Jose Manuel Barroso included: Antonio Tajani, Vice-President for Industry and Entrepreneurship; Janez Potočnik, Environment; Andris Piebalgs, Development; Karel De Gucht, Trade; Kristalina Georgieva, International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response; Günther Oettinger, Energy; Štefan Füle, Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy; and Dacian Cioloş, Agriculture and Rural Development.

Participation from the AU side included the following Commissioners: Mrs. Julia Dolly Joiner, Political Affairs; Mr. Ramtane Lamamra, Peace and Security; Mrs. Elisabeth Tankeu, Trade and Industry; Advocate Bience Philomina Gawanas, Social Affairs; Mrs. Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, Rural Economy and Agriculture; Mrs. Elham Mahmoud Ibrahim, Infrastructure and Energy; Mr. Jean-Pierre Ezin, Human Resources, Science and Technology; and Mr. Maxwell Mkwezalamba, Economic Affairs.

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