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President of the European Council van Rompuy,
Deputy Chairwoman of the AU,
Chairman of the AU Commission Jean Ping,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I don’t want to downplay the major challenges that Africa faces. But what I see above all in Africa are major opportunities. We Europeans want to be equal partners, we want to meet on equal political and economic footing.
The question of how the EU and Africa can provide for more security and peace together is essential to our joint discussion of investment, economic growth and jobs. Prosperity is generated only in security, and lasting security only in a country under the rule of law which protects human rights.
We are all united by the goal of a security structure in Africa which can find African solutions to African problems. Peace and prosperity in Africa are also in the interest of Europe.
I would like to address here three of the many challenges the continent confronts: the Sudan, Somalia and piracy.
A peaceful referendum in the Sudan with fair results would bring increased stability to the whole region. We stand by the Sudan at this defining moment and we shall continue to do so after the referendum. Should the referendum bring about a South Sudanese state, the governments in both the north and the south will need a great deal of support in building up effective structures. Germany is ready to help.
In Somalia we have combined humanitarian aid with assistance in political reconstruction. Both bilaterally and in the EU, Germany supports the transitional government and the African Union Mission in Somalia. Of course, we cannot redress the consequences of a collapsed state on our own through EU missions to train Somali security forces or through our support for the rebuilding of the justice system. Peace can only succeed if the conflicting parties within Somalia make a serious effort to reach a peaceful solution. Because only a fair and stable social order can prevent instability and violence, we will use our networked approach to support Somalia on its path towards internal reconciliation.
The protection of humanitarian aid for Somalia is also our foremost aim in combating piracy off the coast of Somalia. Piracy threatens the women, men and children not only of Somalia, but of all of eastern Africa. It is in the shared interest of Africa and the EU for trade to remain possible in the region. Warships can only be a small part of a comprehensive solution. What the people of Somalia need first and foremost are prospects for the future.
The example of piracy shows the increase in global challenges in which Africa’s interests run parallel to those of the EU. Such challenges – from piracy to fair development, from protecting human rights to combating climate change – require patience. But we must not waste any time. Ignoring problems does not make them go away.
We as the EU can achieve a great deal by working together with the AU and other regional organizations. Worldwide problems must be tackled within the United Nations. We will always be there to listen to your concerns and to support your goals in every way possible.
The Security Council cannot neglect the changes that have occurred in the past 65 years. The growing influence of Africa must be reflected in the composition of the Security Council.
Germany has supported the African Union in many ways in the past. The building of the headquarters for the AU Department of Peace and Security is only one example here. We will continue to support you.