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Saying yes to the youngest continent on earth and making it our ally is not charity; the truth is, we might need it more than they do. In this changing world we need an inclusive partnership with high ambitions for the next generations. A partnership made of concrete cooperation based on common values away from the “post colonial business as usual type of partnership”.
As socialists and progressives, I believe that we shall not let what the European Union inspires around the world to be tarnished by policies made of walls, fear and bigotry; we should insist on a partnership that looks with hope into the future and invest in it.
If we want to be taken seriously, our ambition for this partnership should be visible in the next MFF, Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2027). Currently under discussion, I believe it is our responsibility as progressives to carry a very clear objective: as a symbol it is unacceptable that we spend more on EU border management than on development aid in this next budget.
At the same time, we should insist on a partnership of equals; the funding of international development aid should be a question segregated from the policies where we can find collaboration with African countries.
We also need to reinforce the framework of our cooperation: it means a shared budget where both the European Union and the African Union contribute to develop specific policies in fields such as education, science, but also less traditional areas humain rights, space or tax cooperation and others.
More important finally in my view is the substance of what should be our cooperation; we need to implement programs close to people, fostering grassroots cooperation of africains and europeans in lines with commons objectives; for example with young people in a joint volunteering program, with professionals in a designated field, with civil servants from relevant administrations, … .
The only way we can all prosper in an ever-changing word is that we work together. As our common goal is ultimately our common good, we need to make sure that all continents and all people have access to the basics that they need in order to lead a fulfilled life.
We need to stop regarding Africa as a communion of countries that need our help. We need to look at the continent as a partner, as a future world leader in many respects, as a cradle of youth and development. And this is why we need to stand with Africa and with the African people in their endeavour to make the continent more visible and more engaged at a global level.
The S&Ds in the European Parliament are leading this fight for a fair chance for Africa, for a better future for its youth.
This September, in Brussels, we will be hosting our second edition of the Africa week. Join us and follow our discussions, as we will post more updates throughout the summer break!
How can we engage in Africa initiatives to promote this to young people and build better links with diaspora across Europe.