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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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that we must strengthen our strategic partnership, and work

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

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

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

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

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

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migration flows, combatting human trafficking, preventing

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radicalisation. It is also indefensible to create job

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

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we must therefore develop strong economic diplomacy s and invest more

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

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

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

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

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

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African continent, particularly at institutional level, with our

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sister. Mr President, you have the floor.

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TRANSLATION: Mr President, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

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I have the pleasure of taking this opportunity to address this

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prestigious assembly, which represents the European peoples in

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

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

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the next summit in November, currently under preparation, will

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

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

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

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

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great promise for a blue horizon. Successive milestones have marked

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this partnership around the Mediterranean, with Egypt, with

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

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

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

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are so different in their spirituality and informing

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

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freedom. Colonisation of Africa by European powers was certainly a

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

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

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

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

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affliction in thinkers and intellectuals, in Africa and Europe,

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they have given their interpretations and have tried to

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understand where this fits into our history. The project of

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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and our culture and our civilisation. Ladies and gentlemen,

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the International Horizon is now marked by alarmingly rapid change.

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

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

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lasting solution resides in collective effort based on

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solidarity. In this process of restructuring of the geostrategic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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multidimensional thing, the visionary objective in a world which

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

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

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sustainable, lasting and mutually advantageous. Africa is to devote

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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vitality of its very young population, good governance, around

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

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customs barriers, our own agriculture system, renewable

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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our own governance. It must also support the positive developments

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

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

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

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rights. These crises and conflicts put the humanitarian elements stage

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

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resolve and determination, tackling terrorism, jihadism and

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

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

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post-conflict reconstruction. We greatly appreciate the support we

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have received from the European Union in this fight, particularly

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

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

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

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The devastating effect on flora and fauna reduce and sometimes

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annihilate in an irreversible way, the possibility for continued life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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partnership which must be better understood, better handled and given

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

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

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

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

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

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

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development will take pride of place in our policies and strategic

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

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government, and this encourages others to see ourselves in the

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

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particularly attentive and sensitive to the idea of further investment,

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

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

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

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

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

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dimension are central to our strategic vision. These are

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preoccupations that inform all of the programmes we engage on

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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is what these intellectual and financial resources bring with it.

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

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

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

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

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about the link between universalism in our partnership and relativism.

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

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

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

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

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civilisations and religions. My Credo is search for mutual

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understanding, solidarity between civilisations, cultures and

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religions. To commune with the others. In

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building bridges, we are not preaching uniformity or differences,

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

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

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

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question, international justice and international law, relationship

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between justice, peace and reconciliation, clearly, the battle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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honourable members you feel that this is overing the pudding and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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-- address. TRANSLATION: Thank you very much

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

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

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

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work, together with the representative for foreign affair, I

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

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

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

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always been in favour of interconnecting the European, trans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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APPLAUSE Welcome to HARDtalk from Dublin. I

:22:51.:23:19.

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

:23:20.:23:23.

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

:23:24.:23:27.

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

:23:28.:23:34.

the European Union, Ireland will suffer significant collateral

:23:35.:23:38.

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

:23:39.:23:43.

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

:23:44.:23:48.

Brexit have catastrophic consequences?

:23:49.:23:50.