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It is my third official visit to the African Union Commission, I am really honoured that the President, Vice-President and all the delegations received us as the first delegation of a non-African member state.
I think this highlights how strong, how close our ties are. The European Union and the African Union together are 28 plus 55 member states. This means not only that we need each other to face the common challenges but also to take the common opportunities that are in front of us as the closest partners in the world - geographically but also sometimes politically.
But this also means that when we work together this makes a difference for the rest of the world and in the world of today full of uncertainties and unpredictability, the African Union, the European Union can be a force for good, for our citizens, in Africa and in Europe, investing in sustailnable development, peace and security, multilateralism, a certain approach not only to the world but also I would like to say to life – that we share.
We discussed very concrete and practical ways to turn this strong friendship, this brotherhood and sisterhood into something very concrete for our people. We have already a solid basis on which we can build.
We worked together in many areas, peace and security for sure, we worked together in Somalia, we worked together in Mali, we worked together in the Sahel, in the Lac Chad basin, in the Horn of Africa – everywhere; not only on peace and security; but also on economic developments, on digital, on innovation, on energy, on agriculture, on infrastructure, on job creation for our youth, on access – especially of girls to education and I could continue.
There are so many different fields on which our cooperation brings already good results.
The European Union – already now with the member states - contributes around 80% of the African Union programme budget.
And to us, it is an investment in our own work because we need partners to work together with and we are finding the African Union an excellent partner in so many fields.
We discussed the situation in some of the areas - especially areas of crisis - both security crises and humanitarian crises where we work together and want to work together even more. I am personally very pleased that the Europan Union has been invited by the African Union together with the United Nations and the Arab League to join the Troika on Libya.
I will go from Addis to Cairo to have a first of this Quartet meeting where I believe the African Union and the European Union together with the rest of our partners can work together to have our Libyan friends to find a way to peace, security and stability.
We have discussed a lot about our upcoming summit – EU/Africa Summit the 29th and 30th of November in Abidjan.
We have started to work together to prepare this Summit to bring together a lot of heads of state and government and have concrete projects around the main issue of youth that is our main challenge, our main goal, to support the youth of Africa but also of Europe in their common challenge of finding decent education and jobs and a place in society - including in political participation in their own systems.
We will work together hand in hand, step by step towards this event that from European side is perceived as really one of the highlights of our political year. in Europe we say, this for us is going to be an Africa year because we want to really get to a different stage of our cooperation, again, not because we want to do something for Africa but because we need to do something together, Europe and Africa, given the challenges we are facing.
This includes also from our side a major boost to private investments from Europe to Africa. We are launching a European Investment Plan that will mobilise unprecedented resources that can get up to EUR 88 billion of private investments in the continent in areas that are strategic for transforming the economic potential of the continent in sectors like energy, agriculture, green economy, innovation and untap the huge potential this continent has.
So, we are here as a sign of - as I said - more than political partnership, friendship, brotherhood and sisterhood and this sense of being together, not only geographically but also politically.
And I would like to finish with what I should have started with, congratulating my good friend, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, the Deputy-Chairperson, the Commissioner for Peace and Security, all the other Commissioners, for a challenging but also exciting mandate they have. We are at their side and I am sure we will manage to do excellent things for our peoples – both for in Africa and in Europe, together.