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EU-Africa partnership – MEPs want health issues to be a “priority” on

In relations between the EU and Africa, MEPs emphasize that health policy should be a priority as part of the new “equal cooperation”.

Last Thursday (March 25), the MEPs passed a draft of 64 with 460 votes, which will feed the debate on a new alliance between the EU and the African Union. The parliamentary report says both constituencies must “have a donor-recipient relationship” – a mantra that Ursula van der Leyen’s EU Commission leadership frequently and happily uses.

In a statement, French liberal Crisoula Cacroboulo called on the European Union to support Africa’s regional integration and domestic production, reduce dependence on foreign imports and improve the African Free Trade Area, which began in January.

EU-Africa relations: “The stars are bright”

The EU’s plans to form a “strategic partnership” with Africa have been hit hard by the COVID-19 epidemic. The Portuguese government, which holds the six-month rotating EU Council presidency, wants to complete the project by the summer.

During a debate in the European Parliament last week, the European Commissioner for International Partners, Juta Urbailinen, said the commission was looking forward to “a common approach and renewed partnership with our sister Africa.”

However, negotiations between the EU and the African Union have almost completely stalled due to COVID-19. The corona virus was declared a global epidemic last year, two days after the commission unveiled its strategy for a “sustainable partnership” with Africa.

At the heart of the Commission’s draft at the time was a focus on “green change”, energy and digital transformation. These priorities must be in place, the EU executive said, adding that the EU’s CO2 border tax will be particularly careful not to harm African exports.

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Now, in the wake of the epidemic, more priorities have emerged.

Promote COVAX

Meanwhile, the European Union is one of the leading donors to the World Health Organization-backed Kovacs initiative, which in recent weeks has begun distributing Govt vaccines to African countries.

Many MEPs have expressed interest in developing this by strengthening EU-Africa cooperation in health research and innovation. After all, its purpose is to promote local production of devices and drugs.

“Our African friends, our allies and all Europeans need to understand the importance and opportunity that this partnership offers us,” he said in a parliamentary debate. The French MP said it should start with “strengthening African health systems”.

The parliamentary report also calls on lenders such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to do more to reduce the debt burden of African countries. This was further exacerbated by the epidemic; Countries like Angola, the Republic of the Congo and Zambia are mired in debt and crisis.

For their part, the heads of state and government of the G20 are on the verge of giving the green light to at least $ 500 billion in special drawing rights to the International Monetary Fund, which should be primarily provided to developing countries that support the G20’s credit service (DSSI). ) Current attempt to pause.

Meanwhile, concerns are growing that the planned EU-AU summit in Brussels should be postponed again, as most European and many African countries are now facing a third wave of the epidemic. The Portuguese presidency had set a goal to hold the summit until the end of June during its tenure.

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[Bearbeitet von Josie Le Blond und Tim Steins]

Africa: One year after the onset of the corona epidemic

COVID-19 has hit Africa harder than initially feared. But the consequences of the crisis are enormous: the economic downturn is exacerbating social inequality – limited access to vaccines dampens confidence.