Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Africa Day: the Commission reconfirms its commitment to Africa

Africa Day: The European Commission reaffirms its commitment to strengthen the EU-Africa Partnership in order to address common challenges

On 25 May 2009, to mark Africa Day, the Commission reconfirms its commitment to Africa.

Olli Rehn, the acting European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, says "The peoples of Africa and of Europe share the same hopes, the same values and the same interests. Together we can meet the challenges facing us today, such as the economic crisis, poverty, climate change or illegal immigration. Working together, the continents of Africa and Europe can bring development and progress to their peoples. We have developed a strategy, now we need to create platforms for dialogue and for taking action".

Africa Day is an opportunity to remind Europeans and Africans that - because of the economic and financial crisis - 2009 is a difficult year in the history of the world, but is also an opportunity for the citizens of the two continents to work together. Within this framework, the EU-Africa Partnership and, in particular, the First Strategic Action Plan for 2008 – 2010 are key instruments, as they provide common strategies in eight areas, including peace and security, immigration, climate change and trade.

The citizens of Europe and Africa will also be able to share their hopes and opinions when the European Development Days are held for the fourth time in Stockholm from 22 to 24 October 2009.

For further information:

Africa Day is celebrated every year to commemorate the anniversary of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) on 25 May 1963. By founding the OAU, the leaders of the independent African countries at that time made history by providing a significant joint impetus for the entire African continent to achieve independence. Although there have been several changes to the name and structure of the organisation – today it is called the African Union – African unity is always celebrated on May 25 as World Africa Day.

For more information on the EU-Africa Partnership, see: http://africa-eu-partnership.org