Ukraine crisis dominates first day of EU-Africa summit

EU leaders used the summit to address concerns over the rising tensions at Ukraine’s border with Russia

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Magyar Nemzet

The ongoing crisis on the Ukrainian border with Russia dominated discussions held by European leaders at what was intended to be the sixth EU-Africa summit, according to reports.

Josep Borrell, the EU’s Foreign and Security Policy Representative, was keen to remain on topic, reminding EU leaders that European-African diplomacy, security and trade were on the agenda.

“Remember: we are here today and tomorrow to talk about Africa. It would be unfortunate if what happened on our eastern borders distracted us from the key summit in Africa,” said Borrell, however his remarks were made in vain.

The majority of European leaders in their introductory statements commented on the Ukrainian crisis. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said he believed Allied unity had surprised Russian President Vladimir Putin. As he said, there are tough and tough sanctions on the table against Russia, the union of which, together with the United Kingdom and the United States can take effect at the same time. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said European leaders are trying to get Ukrainian and Russian presidents Volodymyr Zelensky and Vladimir Putin around the negotiating table.

According to Draghi, he specifically received a request from the Ukrainian side to do so. The Italian prime minister will soon be traveling to Moscow himself, according to press reports on Thursday. At the EU summit in Brussels, Josep Borrell — as well as NATO — shared the view that there is still no sign of the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Ukrainian border. Arriving at the meeting, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that if Russia used military aggression against Ukraine, it would have consequences, and the Union was ready to impose severe sanctions.

On the topic of Africa, Borrell declared the European Union as the continent’s best friend, its biggest investor and biggest helper. The sixth EU-Africa summit was delayed to the pandemic, but it is still significant: more than 40 African heads of state and government and leaders of the EU’s 27 member states will take part in the two-day meeting on Friday.

It is an informal summit where the format is unusual: the leaders are expected to discuss different areas of the partnership in the form of thematic round tables, including post-epidemic recovery, vaccine production, green and digital transformation, agriculture and migration.

EU financial institutions have already announced this week that they will create a €30 billion investment package for sub-Saharan Africa as part of a global strategy called the Global Gateway. An additional €294.2 million in humanitarian funding will be allocated this year to help people in need in the east and south of the continent, the European Commission said on Thursday.

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