We would like to congratulate the Senior Leadership of the AU Commission upon the start of their new mandate and express gratitude for the excellent cooperation with its outgoing members. We are confident that the new College of AU Commissioners, under the re-elected leadership of H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, will promote and further strengthen the strong ties between the AU and the EU.
We would also like to congratulate H.E. Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa on her election as the first female Deputy Chairperson of the AU Commission. She joins the AU Commission at a critical time to drive the institutional reform of the AU.
We congratulate H.E. Josefa Sacko, H.E. Albert Muchanga and H.E. Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid on their re-election, which is a recognition of the leadership they have demonstrated in their respective domains.
We congratulate H.E. Bankole Adeoye on his election as the first Commissioner for the new Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security. A holistic view on all stages of the conflict cycle is more important than ever, as no conflict has ever had a solely military solution. The EU will continue to be a committed partner in supporting the African Peace and Security Architecture and the implementation of the AU’s Silencing the Guns initiative.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further demonstrated the need for a strong EU-Africa partnership to tackle the global threats that both continents face. As #TeamEurope, we have swiftly supported Africa’s efforts to mitigate the effects of the pandemic. More than 22 African countries have already received vaccines through COVAX, of which #TeamEurope is one of the lead supporters with €2.2 billion provided so far. Further significant support, with an initial €100 million from the EU, is being rolled out to accompany the vaccination delivery on the ground. This is a key milestone on the road to ending the acute phase of the pandemic. Solidarity is at the heart of the #TeamEurope global response. Global cooperation, coordinated multilateral approach and solidarity will be our only chance to defeat the virus, but also to start global recovery by “Building Back Better and Greener Together”. No one is safe until everybody is safe.
We look forward to working with the new AU Commission to promote our common agenda. The EU and its member states are the first trade and investment partners of Africa, and the EU is fully committed to supporting the integration of the African Continent, in particular, the implementation of the ambitious African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the different emerging single markets related to electricity, aviation and digital. In the same way, the EU stands ready to cooperate closely with the AU Commission and AU Member States in the framework of multilateral arrangements for regional peace and security.
Over the years, our two continents have forged a close and solid partnership that reflects the specificity of our relationship. Europe supports a strong Africa and calls for an even stronger EU-Africa partnership. In 2021, the AU-EU Ministerial Meeting will be an opportunity to discuss and identify ambitious joint priorities, which will be brought forward to the EU-AU Summit in Europe in order to take our Partnership to the next level.
Ahead of our Summit, we will expand the consultations already taking place with the involvement of several AU and EU Commissioners, addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and building on our partnerships for green transition and energy access, digital transformation, sustainable growth and jobs, peace, security, gender equality and governance as well as migration and mobility. Strengthening cooperation in multilateral fora will be a crucial element across our partnerships, and we look forward to working together with the new AU Commission towards this end.