Moussa Mahamat European Parliament

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Moussa Mahamat

Recorded coverage of the speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg by the new chair of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat, from Tuesday 16 May.

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TRANSLATION: Dear colleagues. Be seated.


It is a great pleasure for me to receive today, the chair person of


the African Union commission. Mr President. You are the first chair


person of the African Union commission to at dress this plenary,


Africa is a priority for the union. We share many values, we have much


culture in common, we have the same security challenge, migration


challenge, unemployment, climate change channels as well. Because of


that we must strengthen our strategic partnership, and work


together, as equals. Side by side, to find practical solutions, to the


preoccupations and concerns of our citizens. Citizens. I salute the


efforts of the African Union in its fight against terrorism. Our


cooperation is essential in the Chad lakes area, in the Horn of Africa,


and indeed, in Libya. We have a shared interest in managing


migration flows, combatting human trafficking, preventing


radicalisation. It is also indefensible to create job


opportunities for young people, young African people in Africa. And


we must therefore develop strong economic diplomacy s and invest more


and better on top continent. I express my deep concern for the


food crisis and famine, hunger, which is ravaging many regions of


Africa. Tomorrow, during a visit to Strasbourg, I will be debating with


the Secretary General of the United Nations on that very subject, the


humanitarian crisis. I am convinced we must reinforce our ties to the


African continent, particularly at institutional level, with our


sister. Mr President, you have the floor.


TRANSLATION: Mr President, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,


I have the pleasure of taking this opportunity to address this


prestigious assembly, which represents the European peoples in


all their diversity. Since the first summit in Cairo, in 2000, it has


been one major adventure, with many important milestones. I am convinced


the next summit in November, currently under preparation, will


represent an important new step in our March towards the future of our


peoples. The EU Africa couple has a proud history. Through history, in


the past, there have been areas of light and shade. However, in the


modern world, it is vibrant and a dynamic relationship, and holds


great promise for a blue horizon. Successive milestones have marked


this partnership around the Mediterranean, with Egypt, with


Greece, with Finland, Rome. For many centuries, these cultures have woven


of a shared history. The period of colonisation lasted two centuries


and brought face-to-face our cultures and civilisations. Which


are so different in their spirituality and informing


structures. With their humanism, they're irresistible thrust towards


freedom. Colonisation of Africa by European powers was certainly a


controversial page in our shared history. Yes, there was a period of


domination, a period of exploitation of servitude, indeed slavery. The


insult, the affront to human history, the traces of which are not


going to simply disappear by magic. Famous poets have immortalised this


affliction in thinkers and intellectuals, in Africa and Europe,


they have given their interpretations and have tried to


understand where this fits into our history. The project of


colonisation, the end of that became the start of the new liberation


paradigms. This helps us draw lessons so we can avoid any


repetition or recurrence of that. However, I have not come back here


to look back, to hark back and to put the stick in the wounds. But in


a continental future we can think back and draw resources from this


shared past. All I want to do at the introduction, in my introduction


remarks, is to draw attention to the indelible scars which have been left


by yesterday, now hard-wired into the collective memory of Africans


everywhere. With all of that history behind us, with all the passions,


there has, of course, been the best light and the worst shade. There is


also history of enlightenment, of cultural and spiritual exchange, of


trade, which has been the basis for emancipation and freedom now, down


the centuries this has contributed to your culture, your civilisation,


and our culture and our civilisation. Ladies and gentlemen,


the International Horizon is now marked by alarmingly rapid change.


New powers are emerging, and seek their place in a world which has


become multipolar. New challenges are there. The only hope for a


lasting solution resides in collective effort based on


solidarity. In this process of restructuring of the geostrategic


universe, which is very globalised, Europe and Africa seem, inevitably,


to be looking for a strategic agreement, because they are a


community of destiny, a shared future. Their history, in the past,


the geographical proximity means that both sides depend on the other.


They need to engage with each other. For us to reap the fruits, it must


be based on solid principles. They must take the scale of this


multidimensional thing, the visionary objective in a world which


is expanding, and where horizons are widening. Mutual respect, equality,


freedom, solidarity, the essential landmarks, if it is to be


sustainable, lasting and mutually advantageous. Africa is to devote


all of its intelligence to look forward to the forthcoming period.


We are looking to create a united Europe which is prosperous and that


piece. -- at peace. We need an agenda, and our agendas have an


overlap, as we salute the tenth anniversary of the EU Africa


strategy this year, the agenda for the forthcoming period maps out our


path into the future, and is the basis for international cooperation,


and for our strategic partnership. Africa is, and remains, the theatre


of many bloody conflicts, the main ones being in the Horn of Africa, in


the Chad basin in Central Africa, but the elements of this are now


palpable and tangible. There is great wealth in the minds, in the


resources, in the fishing stocks. Above all, it can draw on the


vitality of its very young population, good governance, around


a courageous vision for African union, the end of tariffs and


customs barriers, our own agriculture system, renewable


energy, technology and the service sector are all essential levers for


the rebirth. We wish them well. Economic growth must improve, over


recent times. That will underpin our ambition, as we fight against waste,


immunity, against waste and the hijacking of public funds. From that


point of view, the priority for us has to be on finding the right


instruments, in the appropriate tool box of our union, and respect on the


half of the member states for everything it contains. The forms of


the African union, decided by the 20 summit, represents a real hope for


our Renaissance. In a resolute way, it means that we are responsible for


our own governance. It must also support the positive developments


and trends that are there for all to see. The continent must now coolers


-- pool resources and talents to prevent the tragedies it has had to


face because of famine, drought and conflict, and violations of human


rights. These crises and conflicts put the humanitarian elements stage


centre, and looking forward to 2020 we are proceeding in a spirit of


resolve and determination, tackling terrorism, jihadism and


radicalisation is at the centre of our daily efforts. We are devoting


all of our efforts to that. Both in terms of management and


post-conflict reconstruction. We greatly appreciate the support we


have received from the European Union in this fight, particularly


with the peace facility. Ladies and gentlemen, all of the studies in


recent times demonstrate Africa is part of the world that has suffered


most from the degradation of natural environment and from climate change.


The devastating effect on flora and fauna reduce and sometimes


annihilate in an irreversible way, the possibility for continued life


in great tracts of the continent. There is a paradox in this. On the


one hand, Africa is the least polluting continent, and the one


place that suffers most from climate change. Is it superfluous to recall


that Africa does not get the full benefit from the efforts and


sacrifices which were made to come to terms with the threat which is


posed to humanity by climate change? This is an essential domain in a


partnership which must be better understood, better handled and given


a higher priority. Given that, we must also see the need to open up


whole areas in the private sector, and the international sector. Let's


welcome the fact that in recent years we have seen a 50% increase in


our trade, taking the whole degree of European investment to around 200


billion euros per annum. The business is the prime creator of


wealth and economic prosperity. The key role in the economic and social


development will take pride of place in our policies and strategic


partnerships. We are fully aware of the imperatives of the new economic


government, and this encourages others to see ourselves in the


perspective of a confidential zone of free trade. This makes us


particularly attentive and sensitive to the idea of further investment,


and to proceed boldly with an African national plan, which was


strongly defended by the presidency of the G20. I wanted to express our


firm support for that, and let that guide our steps into the future.


Young Africans represent 50% of the entire population. Women represent


more than half of the population of Africa as well. Youth and the gender


dimension are central to our strategic vision. These are


preoccupations that inform all of the programmes we engage on


ourselves and with our partners. The question of emigration, great


swathes of our young population, poses a double danger. Those that go


blindly into the way of shipwreck, those that, without any preparation,


find themselves submerged by the waves, we need to find a solution to


that. The only way is to develop Africa and to reinvent a better


future for our young people on the continent. Our partnership has much


potential which is unexplored. And yet we have a community of interest


and advantage, the die aspera, when considered as the sixth region of


Africa, after the North, south, east, west and the centre, has a


sixth dimension, it represents an important place in our agenda. That


is what these intellectual and financial resources bring with it.


Ladies and gentlemen, partnership is essential. We have much in common.


This is the nub of the message that you have done me the honour of


receiving. I think it would be incomplete if I did not talk openly,


and without fear or favour, and in so doing raise the fundamental issue


about the link between universalism in our partnership and relativism.


Many questions test, once they have been put on the table, to all of the


nuances and sometimes divergences between Europe and Africa. And it is


not in my own temperament, nor in the political philosophy, those of


the heads of state and government in Africa, to preach the clash of


civilisations and religions. My Credo is search for mutual


understanding, solidarity between civilisations, cultures and


religions. To commune with the others. In


building bridges, we are not preaching uniformity or differences,


our diversity is the driving force behind movement of life itself and


dynamism. Is it not unfair, and ill lieu sieve to lose out on this if


kund diversity because of diplomatic abuses? We have a whole series of


question, international justice and international law, relationship


between justice, peace and reconciliation, clearly, the battle


cry is often used African solutions to problems but this must not be a


pretext to legitimate us losing our way in the political sphere. The


matters of, which have a burning matters of, which have a burning


topicalty, as we look round, I am glad to see the remarkable attention


which is paid to civil society in Africa, and their mobilisation


across the whole area, the whole extent of our cooperation, perhaps


honourable members you feel that this is overing the pudding and


expecting too much of our partnership, but let us not forget


the famous statement by Jules Verne, nothing can be done which is great


which is not hugely ambitious and hopeful, ladies and gentlemen, can I


invite you to recognise that in Africa, you have an open heart, and


an open mind, and we have extended our hand which is strong, and


hard-working and assiduous, thank you very much for allowing me to add


dress this house and thank you for your attention. Thank you very much.


-- address. TRANSLATION: Thank you very much


Your Excellency s as you can see, we are already working on building


bridges between the European Union, and African Union, you saw the MEPs


give you a standing ovation. We need to be pragmatic, and tangible in our


work, together with the representative for foreign affair, I


believe we can do good work together, the European Parliament is


very much committed to making progress here, we need economic,


political bridges to be built, and also transport bridges. I have


always been in favour of interconnecting the European, trans


European network with trans African networks. We need to work together.


I am an optimist. But we also need to be clear. We can only succeed in


fighting terrorism, we can only deal with the issues linked to migration


if Europe and Africa work together, so we need to strengthen our ties, I


have told my friends in Europe the same. We should look to Africa, not


with European glasses but with African glasses. That is where the


ties of friendship lie between our two continents and you are always


very welcome in the European Parliament. Thank you very much.


APPLAUSE Welcome to HARDtalk from Dublin. I


am Steven sack cur, Ireland has bounced back from the financial


crisis of 2008, but now it is become swept by a new wave of apprehension,


and this time it is all about Brexit. Because when Britain leaves


the European Union, Ireland will suffer significant collateral


damage, in terms of job, trade and the status of its borders. My guest


is Ireland's trade and Foreign Ministerer Charles Flanagan. Will


Brexit have catastrophic consequences?