Vice Minister Emanuela Del Re met, in VTC, with Teresa Ribeiro, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Portugal, to discuss relations between the EU and Africa and cooperation activities in that continent, in view of the forthcoming six months of the Portuguese Presidency of the EU Council that will kick off on 1 January. Secretary Ribeiro and Vice Minister Del Re highlighted the common interest of Italy and Portugal in an ever-increasing European role in Africa. They also discussed the current situation in Mozambique.
“Italy fully supports the objective of deepening our relations with the Continent and strengthening the partnership with African countries according to the priorities outlined in the conclusions of the latest European Council” – was the Vice Minister’s opening remark. Among them, as co-president of the forthcoming COP26, Italy appreciates the focus on environmental issues. Secretary Ribeiro and Vice Minister Del Re stressed the global importance of debt service suspension, “a consideration that will be at the centre of the agenda of the next Italian Presidency of the G20” the Vice Minister added.
“We are confident that the Portuguese Presidency of the EU will continue to pursue closer relations with the continent and the conclusion of the post-Cotonou agreement” – Ms. Del Re declared – “Africa is an area of crucial importance for Italian Development Cooperation. Our actions are inspired by the principles of the UN’s 2030 Agenda and the African Union’s 2063 Agenda, paying particular attention to local priorities and national development plans, in constant dialogue with the local authorities. Long-term crises can no longer be tackled by emergency responses alone, we must strive to act with an integrated approach between the humanitarian, development and peace dimensions in order to address the root causes of the crises”.
There must be a special focus on agri-food systems, which are proving central to most African economies. Italy’s commitment in this field is demonstrated by the establishment of the Food Coalition at the Rome Centre of the United Nations, which is responsible for providing all governments with guidelines for action in a pandemic. The promotion of gender equality and the emancipation of all women and girls are key elements of Italy’s development cooperation strategies and actions. Ms. Del Re therefore insisted on the need to involve the private sector and the African diasporas in Europe in development cooperation activities.