African Union is EU's key partner in the African continent
President Barroso met African Union Commission Chairperson Ms Dlamini-Zuma to discuss strengthening international, bilateral and economic relations between the EU and the AU. Security and development issues were also addressed.
After the meeting with African Union Commission Chairperson Ms Dlamini-Zuma President Barroso pointed out that the strengthening of the relations between the EU and Africa is one of his top priorities. He welcomed Dr Dlamini-Zuma's determination to tackle issues such as education, health, agriculture, trade, science and technology, youth and women empowerment and added that European Commission remains committed to the economic and social development of African countries.
"Our European Development Fund for the next financial period will remain considerable, around 27 billion euros," declared President Barroso. The President reiterated the importance of the integration, because "in the world of the 21st century we are sure that we can better protect our interests and values if we act together," expressing his hopes that the Commission proposal to create a pan-African programme, which will support continental integration, will also be part of the final deal.
"The European Union should look beyond and promote growth through more trade and investment between both Unions," he mentioned, adding that there are many complementarities that can make economic cooperation a win-win partnership, both for Africans and for Europeans.
At the same time Africa and Europe must build on a shared vision for their future relations. "I'm sure that Dr Dlamini-Zuma will contribute to develop this strategic vision. I'm also ready on the European side to give this contribution," said the President and added that European Commission's College visit to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to meet AU College in April 2013 will be also the launch for the preparations for next year’s Africa-EU Summit.