In­ter­na­tional re­la­tions

Pres­i­dent Ramaphosa woos the EU

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Dur­ing a three-na­tion visit to Europe, Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa sought to strengthen po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic and mul­ti­lat­eral re­la­tions with the Euro­pean Union (EU), which is South Africa's sin­gle largest trade part­ner.

The visit kicked off in France, where Pres­i­dent Ramaphosa ad­dressed the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment in Stras­bourg, be­fore lead­ing the South African del­e­ga­tion to the 7th South Africa–Euro­pean Union Sum­mit.

“Our visit has been very suc­cess­ful; we were warmly re­ceived and our in­ter­ac­tions were very pos­i­tive. South Africa is the only African coun­try, and one of 10 coun­tries glob­ally, that has a strate­gic part­ner­ship with the EU.

“Our com­ing here has re­newed our bonds and re­la­tion­ships with the one bloc of coun­tries that in­vests the most in our econ­omy,” said the Pres­i­dent on his visit.

Cel­e­brat­ing vi­sion­ary lead­er­ship

The Pres­i­dent said he was es­pe­cially hon­oured by the in­vi­ta­tion of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment for him to ad­dress mem­bers in the year of the cen­te­nary of for­mer Pres­i­dent Nel­son Man­dela.

Pres­i­dent Ramaphosa ad­dressed the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment un­der the theme “A Part­ner­ship of Equals Based on Shared Val­ues”.

In his ad­dress, Pres­i­dent Ramaphosa said Pres­i­dent

Nel­son Man­dela re­mained a uni­ver­sal hero whose vi­sion­ary lead­er­ship is revered across the world.

He also ac­knowl­edged tributes re­ceived dur­ing this spe­cial year from lead­ers and peo­ple across Europe and the world who con­demned the in­jus­tices of apartheid and saluted the ac­tivism

of strug­gle hero­ines and he­roes who fought to build a demo­cratic South Africa.

Pres­i­dent Ramaphosa called for con­tin­ued sol­i­dar­ity and col­lab­o­ra­tion in the fight against poverty, in­equal­ity and nar­row na­tion­al­ism and urged the strength­en­ing of mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism to pro­mote peace and se­cu­rity, hu­man rights, democ­racy, the rule of law, free and fair trade, sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment and in­clu­sive growth.

7th South AfricaEuro­pean Union Sum­mit

In Bel­gium, Pres­i­dent Ramaphosa par­tic­i­pated in the 7th South Africa-Euro­pean Union Sum­mit in Brus­sels in the King­dom of Bel­gium.

Through the sum­mit, South Africa and the EU re­newed sol­i­dar­ity and agreed to strengthen re­la­tions un­der­pinned by in­creased trade and in­vest­ment.

The EU is South Africa's largest trad­ing part­ner with the value of trade in­creas­ing nearly four­fold from R150 bil­lion in 2000 to R599.86 bil­lion in 2017.

More than 2 000 EU com­pa­nies op­er­ate in South Africa, cre­at­ing more than 500 000 di­rect and in­di­rect jobs.

Ac­cord­ing to Pres­i­dent Ramaphosa, the sum­mit served as fer­tile ground to ac­cel­er­ate in­vest­ment and strengthen bi­lat­eral re­la­tions.

“The out­comes of this sum­mit sup­port and re­in­force the ini­tia­tives we have launched in South Africa to ac­cel­er­ate in­vest­ment, cre­ate jobs and pro­mote growth in our econ­omy,” he added.

Pres­i­dent Ramaphosa said the sum­mit was used to re­in­force ties with Europe and to ob­tain the EU's sup­port for South Africa's eco­nomic and de­vel­op­ment agenda.

“To­gether with the EU, we have com­mit­ted our­selves to ex­plor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for in­vest­ment, tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance, and the im­prove­ment of busi­ness and in­vest­ment cli­mates to pro­mote sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment.”

Dur­ing the sum­mit, South Africa and the EU agreed to strengthen co­op­er­a­tion on in­vest­ment in sup­port of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, in­fra­struc­ture, in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion, skills de­vel­op­ment, small busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and en­trepreneur­ship.

Zim­babwe sanc­tions

Dur­ing dis­cus­sions on peace and se­cu­rity in the re­spec­tive re­gions, the sum­mit dis­cussed Zim­babwe.

South Africa called on the EU to re­view its po­si­tion on Zim­babwe and move to­wards lift­ing sanc­tions.

South Africa made the case that Zim­babwe is on a path of great re­form and needs to be sup­ported.

Peace and se­cu­rity

In 2019, South Africa will take up its non-per­ma­nent mem­ber seat at the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil for the pe­riod 2019–2020.

The sum­mit agreed that this presents an op­por­tu­nity to en­hance co­op­er­a­tion on peace, se­cu­rity, con­flict pre­ven­tion and other global is­sues.

“We will iden­tify op­por­tu­ni­ties for con­crete op­er­a­tional co­op­er­a­tion, ded­i­cat­ing spe­cial at­ten­tion to ad­vanc­ing the global women, peace and se­cu­rity agenda, es­pe­cially in pro­mot­ing mean­ing­ful par­tic­i­pa­tion of women in peace pro­cesses,” said Pres­i­dent Ramaphosa.

The Pres­i­dent con­cluded his work­ing visit to Europe in Geneva, Switzer­land, where he co-chaired the fourth meet­ing of the Global Com­mis­sion on the Fu­ture of

Work at the head­quar­ters of the In­ter­na­tional Labour Or­gan­i­sa­tion.

The com­mis­sion is ex­pected to re­lease a highly an­tic­i­pated re­port on the fu­ture of work in Jan­uary 2019.

Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa with the Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment An­to­nio Ta­jani.

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