As future Members of Parliament, remember that African states need Europe’s cooperation for their democratic and economic modernization. Europe, for Africans too.
In a few days, the citizens of the member countries of the Union will appoint their members to the European Parliament, one of the Union’s major institutions. This suffrage is of great importance, not only for Europeans but also for all men and women of goodwill in developing countries, particularly those of the ACP countries in general and Africa in particular, because of all this, what represents the Old Continent and all that binds it to these countries.
Moreover, the path traveled by Europe since the end of the Second World War, in the construction and consolidation of its integration, is an example to which all eyes are turned.
The election to the European Parliament of 13 June 1999 is very important for us. Indeed, by the texts which govern the European Union, the deputies will have to exercise a mandate which will lead them to take a position as well on the European affairs as on the subjects which interest other countries and other peoples through the world. We can extrapolate and say that they will have planetary competence.
The Committee on Development and Cooperation and the recommendations or resolutions of the Joint Assembly between the 15 European countries and the 71 ACP countries will be judged by the MEPs, who will ratify the final act on when the time comes.
In this regard, the indications given by the ACP Heads of State and Government in Libreville after their first summit in November 1997 are clear and unequivocal: we want to have a partnership with Europe wide and solid, the test of time and the vicissitudes and hazards linked to the exercise of the power of our States, a partnership conceived and implemented for the benefit of our respective peoples.
This vision is underpinned by our awareness of what we, the European Union and the ACP countries, can bring together to the rest of the world: peace, stability, mutual trust, sustainable development with a concern marked protection of our environment.
It is in this spirit that I would like to invite the candidates to the European Parliament elections to review the Lomé Convention and the Libreville Declaration. I am sure that it will enable them to better understand the responsibilities that are theirs and ours in building a future of progress and well-being for all of humanity.
In this regard, we know that if we, Africans, want to consolidate our relations with Europe, we must start by sweeping our door. This means that we must build and strengthen democracy and the rule of law in our countries, and respect all the freedoms and rights of men, women, and children.
We must also step up our efforts to make our economies competitive and better organize our solidarity within viable groups.
We have, of course, achieved tangible results in these different areas. But to make them irreversible, we must strengthen and consolidate payday loans http://www.re-happyhome.com/budget-house-makeover-with-your-refinance-mortgage-loan basics. Our efforts alone will not suffice, and we need Europe’s cooperation in a spirit of friendship and solidarity.
In truth, the realization of the objectives that I have just recalled supposes that we consecrate, together, the same will and the same determination.
As far as Africa is concerned, it is for her, respecting her roots, to reinforce her modernity by developing or pursuing bold schooling programs, especially for girls, and functional literacy ; the training of its elites in areas as strategic as telecommunications and new information and communication technologies; health promotion; employment development, especially for young people and women, through the creation of small businesses and small industries; Environmental protection.
In view of the emergencies facing Africa, modernization is a challenge. But we have the will to do it, better, we do everything in this direction. In Senegal, this is one of the major axes of government action.
As for Europe, she must understand that Africa can be, for her, in the near future, a full partner, a leading partner at the economic, political and cultural levels. Fortunately, this feeling is already that of many European leaders. It remains to be translated into the strengthening of current economic programs; the modification of certain trade agreements with a view to promoting access of African products to European markets; setting up structures to promote political cooperation between the two continents.
Speaking to the candidates for the European Parliament elections, I have the firm hope that my call for the building of a new partnership of friendship and solidarity will be heard. I base my optimism and confidence on the generous and courageous positions that the august Assembly has had to adopt in recent years on issues essential to the future of Africa, such as the eradication of apartheid and the resolution of the African debt problem.
That is why I feel very comfortable asking future Members of the European Parliament not to forget the countries of the ACP group and in particular Africa, which is its weakest link, in the exhilarating mission to which they are destined.