External aid, investment and trade as instruments to reduce the reasons of economic migration, with a special focus on Africa (own-initiative opinion)

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EESRK nuomonė: External aid, investment and trade as instruments to reduce the reasons of economic migration, with a special focus on Africa (own-initiative opinion)

Key points:

  • Seventy years ago, Europe was a continent of net emigration as its citizens fled scourges such as war, hunger, poverty, unemployment, environmental degradation, oppression and discrimination. The success of the EU in creating opportunities for its people has made Europe a continent of net immigration. We should work together with African countries to offer them similar progress.
  • The EESC would like to stress its engagement to being involved as a body representing organised civil society and as an active partner in all such EU agreements, in particular the ACP-Partnership Agreement also known as "Cotonou agreement". The EESC believes it is now important that continued and even greater engagement by the EESC and its structures becomes a substantial element of the post-Cotonou agreement.
  • The EESC stresses that the strengthening of Africa and EU cooperation will benefit from the establishment at EU level of a one-stop-shop policy and an appropriate consultation mechanism for providing information and contacts to those wanting to invest in and collaborate with Africa.
  • The EESC calls for implementation of a "from aid to invest" approach, meaning changing the focus from handing out benefits to dealing with and supporting self-reliant, self-dependent economic players and intercontinental economic projects based on cooperation on a level playing field.

    The EESC considers that EU development cooperation should focus on working towards a people-centred partnership, ensuring the participation of civil society, trade unions and the private sector and delivering direct benefits for African and European citizens.

  • The EESC promotes initiatives and adjustments to the FTA/EPA/GSP trade policy regimes conducive to effective and sustainable implementation of the AfCFTA and African market integration. It should in particular strengthen intra-African trade and regional and continental integration and develop major sectors of the economy throughout Africa.
  • The EESC welcomes the EU's planned increase of funding to Africa to EUR 40 billion (USD 46.5 billion) in the next budget period and hopes it will be significantly leveraged by private investors.