José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement by President Barroso following the EU-South Africa Summit
EU-South Africa Summit press conference
Brussels, 28 September 2010
Good afternoon, it has been a real pleasure to meet today here in Brussels with President Zuma and his delegation.
We value very much our partnership with South-Africa and the many ties that connect Europeans and South-Africans.
Today's very productive Summit reflects the broadening and deepening of our relations, which have been significantly strengthened since we established a Strategic Partnership three years ago.
Today's signature of the largest-ever EU budget support programme to South Africa, in primary education is an excellent illustration of the nature of our comprehensive partnership. It is ultimately about delivering real results for our people.
This is our objective not only in our bilateral relation but also at the regional level. Last June, I led a European Commission delegation to Addis Ababa for a meeting with our friends of the African Union Commission. We discussed the preparation of the next EU-Africa Summit and new ways to address the pressing challenges of food and water security, health and education, which affect millions of people. I warmly welcome South-Africa's active involvement in the preparation of the Summit. I believe that this third EU-Africa-Summit is an opportunity to move up a gear and keep on delivering on our ambitious objectives.
Let me stress here another issue of common interest and co-responsibility we discussed today, that is development aid. Last week in New-York at the UN meeting on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), I had the opportunity to reaffirm Europe’s strong commitment to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGS) and announce that the EU is ready to offer to the most committed and needy countries an MDG initiative amounting to €1 billion to help ensure concrete results on those goals which are furthest from being achieved.
But no country has ever been transformed by aid alone. That is why it is also important to find other sources of growth such as trade. Trade has a huge untapped potential in African countries. In particular regional trade.
Today only a 10th of Africa’s trade is within Africa itself. That is why we hope to conclude the negotiations on the Economic and Partnership Agreement with South Africa Development Community (SADC) countries until the end of the year. We count with President's Zuma commitment to achieve this goal.
We have also discussed the possibilities of establishing triangular cooperation with the South Africa's Development Partnership Agency, notably in the area of capacity-building and infrastructure.
South-Africa is a key strategic partner, not only in Africa but globally. This also applies to the pressing issue of climate change.
We have exchanged views with President Zuma on climate negotiations and emphasized the need to reach balanced, action-oriented decisions in Cancun, already looking forward to the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) meeting in Cape Town in 2011. I think we agree that now, everybody has to move forward with determination and ambition in putting in practice its reduction pledges and mitigation actions. Let me stress in particular that delivering on "fast-start" financing is key.
To conclude, I think that in Cancun - or in Seoul for the next G20 Summit - if we pull forces, together the EU and South Africa can contribute to making a difference for our people and ensure a fairer and more prosperous world. At our Summit today we made progress towards this ambitious objective.