Addressing the Italia-Africa Summit in Rome, the President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola said that when Africa prospers, Europe prospers, and the world will prosper too.
Presidente del Senato,
Presidente del Consiglio dei Ministri,
Vice-Presidente del Consiglio dei Ministri e ministro degli Esteri,
Chairpersons of the African Union, and the African Union Commission,
President of the European Council,
President of the European Commission,
Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations,
Prime Ministers, President, Dignitatories,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
When Africa prospers, Europe prospers - and the world will prosper too. We can move forward together.
That is the message behind my few words today, the sentiment behind the Mattei plan and the vision of the European Union.
Enrico Mattei understood, sooner and perhaps better than most, that there is more strength in nations working together, than there is when working against each other.
The relationship between our great continents must be characterised by a real partnership of equals. One where we acknowledge the past, but look to the future together. That is how we all prosper. How all our peoples are able to thrive and to fulfil their potential.
Permettetemi quindi di esprimere la mia gratitudine al Presidente Meloni e al Ministro Tajani per aver portato avanti questo progetto. Un vero e proprio cambiamento di mentalità che era atteso da tempo.
Allow me also to pay tribute to the work of the African Union under the leadership of Moussa Faki and President Azali Assoumani.
As Moussa Faki often says, we Europeans and Africans have a comparative advantage. But if we don't cultivate it, it will disappear to the benefit of other players.
Business, trade and investment can only prosper, creating jobs and sustainable, inclusive growth in a climate of peace, security, stability, respect for human rights and good governance.
The world is changing and we must change with it. 12 of the 20 fastest growing economies on the planet are in Africa. It has been described as the young land in an aging world. The narrative around the continent and our relationship must evolve.
All of this while the clock of a climate emergency keeps on ticking. Nowhere is this felt more acutely than Africa – in too many places we are seeing land receding while sea levels rise. The challenge of our generation requires joint effort, real partnership. We can ensure a path to real prosperity, economic growth while saving our planet, and safeguarding rights. We’ve shown that we can be on the same page time and again. As we step up the energy transition, Africa will lead the way for the global push.
We are entering a new era of international interdependency, where cooperation has never been more important. This has made this event all the more urgent. Europe and Africa have been friends and allies for many years and our cooperation has already yielded tangible results, considerable investment and sharing. Yet, we need to have the courage to be honest with ourselves. Honest about where we have succeeded. Honest also, about where we can do better.
Europe understands the responsibility that it bears here. We need to deliver on our promises, fill the funding gaps that remain and move on infrastructural, education, agricultural, food security investments.
There are challenges that go beyond the immediate. I grew up in Malta an island further to the south than Tunis, my generation is the first not to have experienced colonialism.
We know how difficult it is to break with the past and forge new relationships - as partners around the same table. But a new way is possible, it is desirable and it is achievable.
Africa has all that it takes to be the next global economic powerhouse, a pioneer in green-tech, emerging tourism destinations, and a leader in the digital transition. Nearly half a billion consumers in Africa already pay on mobile phone platforms launched by local talent.
In the energy sector, it is a continent unrivalled. Europe has an energy supply challenge, and Africa has the potential to be a massive supplier of any renewable and green energy. This also applies for raw materials and rare earths. We can grow together, sustainably - not at the expense of each other.
The European and African continents also have a joint interest when it comes to security concerns. Recent developments underscored those related to our trade networks.
So when we say that Africa must take its rightful seat at the table as partners - as equals – it is an understanding that our continents, our countries and our people need each other to emerge stronger from global challenges and to foster economic growth. In a win-win for all.
Africa has everything it needs to fulfill its vast potential and Europe can be a partner. Take for instance, the Mediterranean region. The potential that it has to return to its former glory as a hub for business, exchange of goods, services, tourism and ideas are limitless.
Too often, our discussions are only dominated by short-term considerations. This has been particularly true when we speak about migration. This is of course a pressing issue, it needs partnership to address holistically, but it is certainly not the only one. Our discussions need to move beyond the immediate, and this needs to start with us.
On behalf of the European Parliament, I am here today to show our commitment to making our shared future safer, more prosperous, more secure.
Europe has a role to play, without imposition, with reciprocal trust. Over the years, the European Parliament has had the honour of welcoming many of you to our House.
Our regular interactions with parliaments from African countries and Joint Parliamentary Assemblies are an excellent basis and a proof of our commitment to strengthen ties.
Perchè se l'Africa cresce, cresce anche l'Europa e il mondo intero.
You can read the President's speech in Italian here.