Development outside the EU is the best investment for Europeans in their own security and stability, High Representative Federica Mogherini said today, following a meeting with Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
"We shared, I think, the assessment of the fact that the best way of building security for our own citizens is investing in development in the rest of the world," she told the media.
Mogherini and Gates discussed the work both the EU and the Foundation are doing to help developing countries reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
"There are so many things that are improving in terms of living conditions, decrease of children mortality for instance. So we see that change can happen – is already happening - but it requires us to work really hard and together to achieve that," Mogherini said.
The High Representative underlined that it is important to focus on cooperation and partnership and improving peoples’ lives both because it is a good thing to do, "but it is also the smart thing to do also for ourselves".
The EU and its Member States are the World's leading provider of humanitarian aid and development assistance, but also a major economic actor throughout the world. Last year, the EU launched the European External Investment Plan, which aims to encourage private sector investment in developing countries.
Mogherini told Bill Gates that the Foundation is one of the EU's main interlocutors in the work it is doing to mobilise private investments in the most fragile places, in particular in Africa.
"This means, again, working together – private, public, Europe and others, including the United States - and having the European Union as a reliable partner. For everybody in the world we will continue to be there, we will continue to be the major investment and donor worldwide, in particular for poverty reduction and for reaching the Sustainable Development Goals; we will continue to be a pillar of the UN system and a point of reference for NGOs, foundations that have this as the main objective," the High Representative concluded.