By the end of this year, the European Commission is expected to present a strategy for Africa, followed up by a meeting between the leaders of both continents. European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen stated that Europe’s success is linked with that of the African continent, which she further added is dynamic and developing at a fast pace. Von der Leyen explained that African countries seek a policy based on peace, whilst creating more work opportunities in their country. Von der Leyen added that European aspirations and African aspirations are very similar.
“Its a continent with immense aspirations and potential. A continent that is now setting up a pan-African free trade zone. A continent that understands climate change far better than anyone else. Africans share many of our aspirations.”
The European Commission President stated that the European Union’s links with Africa go beyond the issue of migration. The President referred to Malta’s strategy for partnership with Africa, stating that Malta could serve as a bridge between both continents.
“Malta could be Europe’s bridge to Africa. I am particularly glad that Malta is presenting a strategy for partnership with Africa”
Geographic proximity with the north of Africa and its links with a number of African countries within the Commonwealth are among advantages for Malta to serve as a bridge between both continents. A consultation on strategy, launched by the Government for partnership between Malta and Africa, was concluded at the end of January.
Main challenges for both continents include the crisis in Libya. The UN Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame stated that talks aimed at a ceasefire are moving in the right direction, even if the port of Tripoli was bombed this week.
“I never expected a miraculous end of everything in one day. This has been a conflict that has been simmering or exploding, depending on the time, many times since 2011. And it cannot be solved in one day, but we are incrementally getting there.”
Salame made this statement when he was hosting talks in Geneva between the recognised Government and forces led by General Khalifa Haftar. The UN Envoy stated that talks at a political level are expected to resume on Wednesday.
The UN Agency for Migration stated this week that over 2,000 migrants are being kept in detention in Libya in conditions which it described as deplorable. The agency appealed to European member states to ensure rescued migrants are not sent back.
Observers have noted that there has been an increase in recent months in the number of persons fleeing Libya.