I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The Candidate Countries Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey; the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Serbia and Montenegro; and the EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area, align themselves with this statement
The European Union enjoys a rich and deep engagement with Africa, both directly and in partnership with the United Nations. Our commitment to Africa results from our belief that the promotion of peace and sustainable development in Africa constitutes one of the major challenges to the international community today. Our relationship, conducted in a spirit of equal partnership, is also based on strong historic and cultural ties; a shared commitment to democracy, the promotion of human rights, good governance and respect for the rule of law in international relations; on mutual respect and accountability; and on the principles set out in the European Unions founding treaties and the Constitutive Charter of the African Union.
The European Union recalls the substantial support, amounting to 2.5 billion annually, which it already accords to Africa within the framework of the Cotonou Agreement and its partnership agreements with South Africa and the countries of North Africa. In addition, the Member States of the European Union provide substantial support on a bilateral basis. The European Union continues to work for Africas sustainable development by implementing the commitments taken in Monterrey and Johannesburg Summits. The EU is committed to contributing to the achievement of the Millennium development goals in Africa, most notably in the poorest countries. The EU is working to reinforce our partnerships with Africa to overcome challenges such as: overcoming hunger; winning the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria; ensuring safe and adequate water supply; protecting the environment; developing sustainable energy; and supporting the provision of education..
The European Union will continue to work for Africa’s integration into the world economy, in particular through seeking a successful outcome to the current Doha Development Round which must adequately take account of the needs of developing nations. The EU is determined to help commodities-dependent developing countries to address the major challenges they face and to set up adequate measures and tools to this end. The European Union is also committed to ensuring sustainable trade with Africa through the implementation of economic partnership agreements.
The European Union applauds the new spirit of initiative and self-help evident within the continent of Africa, and the development of an institutional capacity for preventing and tackling conflict and promoting better governance.
In this regard, the EU welcomes the development of the New Partnership for Africas Development (NEPAD) as an unprecedented African-led initiative to identify appropriate strategies for confronting the inter-related problems of peace and development. In addition, the African Peer Review Mechanism represents a particularly valuable innovation in the promotion of better governance throughout the continent. Similarly, as another demonstration of African resolve to promote improved governance, the European Union notes, and also warmly welcomes, the establishment of the Pan-African Parliament and its inaugural session in Addis Ababa in March this year.
The European Union is also greatly encouraged by the institutional developments within the framework of the emergence of a continental peace and security architecture for Africa. In this regard, the European Union warmly welcomes the establishment of the African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC) and steps taken by sub-regional organisations in establishing structures supporting the African Peace and Security architecture. It is particularly apt that the formal inaugural meeting of the PSC should be taking place today in Addis Ababa.
The European Union is committed to work with Africa in supporting these important institutional developments, and helping to build up African capabilities for addressing and resolving conflictsincluding through deployment of African peace-keeping missions. In this regard, the European Union has established a Peace Facility for Africa, which will very shortly become operational and is funded to the amount of 250 million. The Peace Facility will help support African-led peace-keeping efforts, and will strengthen African conflict resolution capabilities. Through this assistance, the European Union will be directly helping African countries to mount effective peace-keeping efforts.
The European Union is also committed to identifying other means of strengthening conflict prevention efforts in Africa within the framework of the European Security and Defence Policy. The EUs efforts will, for instance, build on the successful example provided by Operation Artemis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the work underway to improve rapid reaction capabilities in crisis situations. The EU is ready to consider further EU peacekeeping operations in Africa if requested by the United Nations, especially in the context of the joint declaration on EU-UN cooperation in crisis management signed in September 2003. The EU particularly underlines the importance of cooperation with Africa in combating all forms of terrorism.
A fundamental principle of the European Unions relationship with Africa has been to assess our engagement there on a continental, regional, subregional, national, or local level as called for by the issue at hand. In this regard, the European Union welcomes the enhanced dialogue with Africa that is now taking place on many different levels. We are, as an example, greatly encouraged by the political dialogue that is taking place with many of Africas national governments under article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement, and other regional initiatives such as the Euromed Process. The EU reaffirms its commitment to enhancing its relationships with African countries, based on mutual respect and accountability and conducted in a spirit of partnership. In addition, the European Union is working to deepen its dialogue with Africa through the African Union, which now plays a major role in the maintenance of peace and security on the continent, and with those sub-regional organisationssuch as ECOWAS, SADC and IGADwhich have been prominent in African peace-keeping and conflict resolution efforts. We look forward to the implementation of the promising commitments made by Africas leaders. The European Unions partnership with Africa is based on mutual accountability and the Union is working to fulfil our commitments to Africa, as African governments and institutions work to fulfil theirs.
The European Union is developing an ever-deepening relationship with Africaa process that has taken great strides in recent years. The European Union takes the opportunity of todays celebration of Africa Day to reaffirm our commitment to work with our African partners in supporting the building of a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic Africa, an Africa capable of realising its full potential and playing a full and proper role in the world.