Johannesburg, 26 February 2016
Check against delivery!
Thank you very much. Madam Minister, my friends. I thank you very much first of all for the very warm welcome here in South Africa, for this very important meeting we have had today and we will continue in a few moments.
It is not only a formal opportunity to exchange notes but it is indeed a high level ministerial political dialogue that sees South Africa and the European Union coordinating and cooperating on so many relevant issues.
We agreed before entering the room that I will just mention the fact that I agree with all you said and skip my part and this could be indeed true. And this testifies the strength of our common vision, of our common values.
There is a lot of common history between the European Union, Europe and South Africa. But I would like to say that there is especially a lot of present and a lot of future in our coordination and in our common work. This is true on the many fields that you mentioned, on the many aspects on which Europe and South Africa work bilaterally together, in trade, in investment, in education, in job creation, in science, in the environment, in all different - and I am forgetting many for sure, but you mentioned them all – the 20 different sectors of our common engagement - that are common work that benefits our people.
It is also important that our partnership is strong and projected to the future also for the sake of our regions and of the rest of the world. We have seen our partnership attest last year, while we were working together on the Sustainable Development Goals and when we were working together on climate change with good important results.
It is the whole of Africa, it is the whole of Europe, it is the whole of the Mediterranean and the Middle East and further beyond these common regions we have - it is the multilateral system and diplomacy. A different world order that we want to shape together that can benefit a lot from the strength of our partnership.
And here again, we have a common shared vision of working together for the sake of peace, reducing inequalities, guaranteeing access and real rights to the people - our people and the people of the world for justice and ending poverty in the world.
So, this is a partnership that has strong roots and a bright future and I would like to thank you personally for the energy and the dedication you are putting in this. We look forward to welcoming you and President Jacob Zuma in Brussels, hopefully soon and to continue our direct work together on the many issues we discussed today, and counting very much on this.
Our strategic partnership is key. Again, I stress for our citizens, for our regions, for the multilateral system, for the rest of the world - and the world is living in difficult times. So, I would say these difficult times need South Africa and Europe to work hand in hand together as friends - not in exclusive partnerships but building networks of partnerships that can help us build this new multilateralism that the world desperately needs.
I would like to thank you very much for your friendship and for your leadership.
Link to the video: http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?ref=I117110