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Deputy PM Zaharieva: We Invest in Peace and Security in Africa

22 January 2019 News

The first ministerial meeting of the EU and the African Union was held in Brussels today. The Bulgarian delegation was headed by Deputy Prime Minister in charge of the judicial reform and Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva. The meeting was co-chaired by Federica Mogherini, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Richard Sezibera, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Rwanda.

The EU and AU Foreign Ministers discussed three main themes: political (including peace, security and governance), economic (including trade, investment, and economic integration) and multilateralism (strengthening cooperation in support of a rules-based global order). Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva hailed the meeting and stressed that she has already met three times with some of the participating African ministers, which is an important sign of the strengthening cooperation between the EU and the AU, and the shift to a more pragmatic partnership.

“Peace and security are the pillar of your partnership because they are essential for achieving prosperity and development. Unfortunately, the terrorist attack in Kenya on January 15, 2019, is yet another sad reminder of the common challenges facing us all today,” Minister Zaharieva said in her remarks. “The EU invests a lot in security in Africa. Most of the EU missions and operations within the common security and defence policy are in Africa and I am proud that my country participates in this important investment,” she added.

The Bulgarian Foreign Minister said that among the important areas of cooperation are the combat against climate change, and headway has been made there. The cooperation in tackling illegal migration, in cybersecurity, eradicating inequality and counter-corruption combat are also among the priorities. Regular dialogue needs to be maintained on issues where the two sides have differences because this is the only way to find solutions to the problems facing us, said Ekaterina Zaharieva.

At the meeting the two sides presented what has been achieved so far in the process of pursuing the goals defined at the 5th AU-EU Summit in Abidjan on November 29-30, 2017. The Ministers rallied round further actions for advancement of relations.

The common EU policy to the member states of the African Union is set out in a EU-AU joint strategy adopted by the European African leaders at the second EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon in December 2007.To achieve these goals, the Strategy has established eight thematic partnerships for cooperation: 1) peace and security; 2) democratic governance and human rights; 3) trade, regional integration and infrastructure; 4) millennium development goals; 5) energy; 6) climate change and environment; 7) migration, mobility and employment, science, information society and space.

The EU remains the most important donor of Africa. The cooperation for development uses various financial instruments. The most important of them is the European Development Fund (EDF) which was established by the Cotonou Agreement.

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