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José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement by President Barroso following the EU-South Africa Summit
18 September 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is indeed a great pleasure to welcome President Zuma to Brussels for our 5th EU-South Africa Summit. The fact that President Zuma was accompanied by such a high level ministerial delegation shows how important is the scope and the depth of our relationship.
For the European Union, the Strategic Partnership with South Africa is decisive for a future of prosperity that we want to build together based on shared values and common interests. So, we are very happy to have you here today.
The EU is already South Africa's main trading partner (almost 30% of total exports). It is the first foreign investor (77.5% of Foreign Direct Investment) and most important development partner (70% of all external assistance). But we want to do more!
We just ended very substantive and open discussions on key issues for our partnership. In fact, 2012 sets the ground for continued ambition in our bilateral relations and let me briefly tell you why.
2012 marks the 5th anniversary of the Strategic Partnership with South Africa – a key EU partner on the African continent and on the global stage.
Yesterday and today, the first EU-South Africa Business Forum took place bringing together business associations from both sides. Business-to-business contacts are a positive complement to the dialogue that we have at the political level.
2012 is also the first year of full implementation of our bilateral Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA), which provided increased opportunities for two-way trade and, as a result, more job opportunities, and also facilitated investment.
This year we are also celebrating the 15th anniversary of our bilateral Science & Technology Agreement, a field which has become a flagship area of our partnership and one in which I am sure we will continue to build on our successful cooperation for the years to come.
And we have just launched a €250 million programme to support South Africa’s National Development Policy. This is another sign of our concrete partnership.
The reality is that our bilateral cooperation has been growing in breadth and depth in the past years and our collaboration in multilateral fora is more and more important to address common challenges. Today's talks underline that.
We discussed the state of play of the Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations, reiterating our firm commitment to finalize the negotiations with the SADC countries to our mutual benefit.
It is true that the current international economic and financial climate is not the easiest for either part, but it is precisely because of that that we should seek the advantages and opportunities from working together to create jobs and stimulate growth.
Together with President Zuma we also had the opportunity to take stock of the results of the G-20 meeting in Los Cabos.
We believe it is important that all G20 members do their share to bring the world economy back to a strong, sustainable, and balanced growth path.
Additionally, South Africa is playing an instrumental role in driving forward the G20's developmental agenda. We consider this very positive alongside with South Africa's engagement on green growth, climate issues and financial inclusion.
Indeed, South Africa was an outstanding host of the Climate Conference in Durban last year. I take this opportunity to, once more, congratulate South Africa's leadership in this process.
Today, in the Durban spirit, we reiterate our joint commitment for enhancing the alliance between the EU and South Africa to tackle Climate Change.
In a nutshell, the European Union and South Africa are increasingly interconnected, our destinies are ever more interdependent and our cooperation from trade to climate change, from science and research to sustainable development, from consolidating democracy in Africa to eradicating poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals, is and should be seen as a win-win situation. I believe we can both benefit from it and make the world benefit from it as well.
Once more, President Zuma, distinguished Ministers, we are delighted to have you here today in what I believe was a very positive and constructive summit!
I thank you for your attention.