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Address at the celebration of Europe Day by Mrs Angie Motshekga, Minister of Basic Education Freedom Park, Pretoria: 9 May 2013

 

Your Excellency Ambassador Roeland van de Geer, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to South Africa

Mr Carmelo Cocuzza, Regional Head of the European Investment Bank in Southern Africa and Indian Ocean

Your Excellencies Members of the Diplomatic Corps

Distinguished guests

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

It is an honour to address such a distinguished audience on the occasion of the 63rd Anniversary of Europe Day.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the European Union and its member states for reaching this historic landmark and for sharing the celebrations with democratic South Africa – your friend and strategic partner.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The common interests and shared values of South Africa and the European Union provided a natural foundation for our strategic partnership.  

As most of you are aware, the SA-EU relationship is underpinned by the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement, more popularly known by its acronym, the TDCA, signed in 1999.

The TDCA provided the legal basis for close relations on trade, development, economic cooperation and political dialogue.

It was an important stepping-stone for the eventual establishment of the SA-EU Strategic Partnership and the adoption of its Joint Action Plan in May 2007.

We aptly named our strategic dialogue the ‘Môgôbagôba Dialogue’ – môgôbagôba being the Yellowwood Tree under which discussions are held in an open and frank manner.   

In essence our strategic dialogue with the European Union and individual countries of the Europe region revolves around five definitive relationships.

These are trade and tourism, investment, development, skills and technology transfer, and global interaction with a focus on advancing the African Agenda and the Agenda of the South.

Practically the strategic partnership stands on two key pillars, namely:

·       A dynamic, strategic political dialogue on issues of shared interest with the mutual commitment to promote an agenda of liberty, peace, security and stability in the world, and in Africa in particular.  South Africa and the EU share the understanding that security and development are interdependent, and that both parties play key global roles in this regard.

·         The second leg is policy dialogue and sectoral cooperation. In the shade of môgôbagôba tree, we are proud to already have nineteen running dialogue forums with a strong developmental emphasis ranging from cutting-edge technology, capacity-building and infrastructure to human resource and social development.

To implement and monitor the strategic partnership, we are looking forward to the 14th SA-EU Joint Cooperation Council and the 12th Ministerial Political Dialogue to be held in Brussels, as well as hosting the EU Presidents for the 6th SA-EU Summit in Soweto, this year.

The close relationship between the South African Parliament and the European Parliament should also be mentioned. 

Next week the President of the European Parliament, Mr Martin Schulz, will be visiting South Africa to address the plenary of the 2013 International Consultative Seminar, which will be held in Cape Town on 14 May 2013. 

Ladies and gentlemen,

In 2013 we will focus our engagements with Europe around the central theme of “Job Creation through Inward Investment” in response to the diverse demands of South Africa’s National Development Plan (NDP).  

South Africa’s 2030 National Development Plan sets out ambitious goals for poverty reduction, economic growth, economic transformation and job creation. 

We trust that Europe’s investment in South Africa will continue to play a vital role in bringing to life the vision and proposals contained in the NDP.  

Investment, in this regard, should be seen as broad and multifaceted to encompass all the aspects of South Africa’s relationship with Europe. 

With specific focus on sourcing investment to create sustainable and decent jobs, we are hopeful that we can continue to consolidate our relations.

While the EU faces challenging times, we hope the understanding that our country continues to face triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality will not be put out of sight. We hope that Official Development Assistance will continue well into the future.

South Africa thus calls on the EU and its member states to continue future development assistance to support South Africa to deal with crosscutting national challenges, such as public services delivery enhancement, good governance consolidation and support to active citizenry to ensure that our hard won advances are not eroded in the medium term.

Pulling the plug too early on our development path could slow down our progress and turn the tide over the longer term.

This will not only affect South Africa’s interests but also the regional and continental development agenda, through a strong spill-over effect.

This month Africa will begin her celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of the OAU/AU. We will continue to learn from your experiences as we also move towards unity and integration.

We call upon your interventions on the continent and our region, to assist us to move faster to realise the dream of the founding forefathers of the OAU/AU, that Africa must “unite and integrate”.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to reiterate the fact that Europe as a region remains South Africa’s main trading partner, main source of investment and key development partner. 

The European region is a valuable supplier of cutting-edge technology and capacity-building.  

South Africa is proud to be one of only ten countries worldwide with which the EU has a strategic partnership and would like to see this relationship flourish from strength to strength.

In this auspicious celebration of Europe Day, 9 May, allow me therefore to convey to His Excellency Mr Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, His Excellency Mr José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, and Member States of the European Union, warmest greetings and sincere congratulations from the Government and people of the Republic of South Africa.

Ladies and gentleman,

Let us raise our glasses to the friendship and partnership between South Africa and the EU.

I thank you.

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Written By: Administrator Account
Date Posted: 1/11/2016
Number of Views: 1757

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