Building capacity to help Africa trade better

Joint statement of the 7th EU-South Africa Summit


Joint statement of the 7th EU-South Africa Summit

Joint statement of the 7th EU-South Africa Summit
Photo credit: GCIS

EU-South Africa Summit: Strengthening the Strategic Partnership

At the 7th European Union-South Africa Summit held in Brussels on 15 November 2018, Leaders agreed on a number of steps to reinforce bilateral and regional relations, focusing on the implementation of the EU-South Africa Strategic Partnership. This includes economic and trade cooperation and pursuing the improvement of business climate and opportunities for investment and job creation which are of mutual interest.

Leaders also discussed common global challenges, such as climate change, migration, human rights, committing to pursue close cooperation both at bilateral level and on the global stage. A number of foreign and security policy issues, including building and consolidating peace, security and democracy in the African continent and at multilateral level were also raised. Leaders finally committed to work towards a prompt resolution of trade impediments affecting smooth trade flows.

Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission and Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, represented the European Union at the Summit. South Africa was represented by its President, Cyril Ramaphosa. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness Jyrki Katainen and Commissioner for trade Cecilia Malmström also participated, alongside several Ministers from South Africa.

President Juncker said: “The European Union, for the South African nation, is a very important trade partner. We are convinced that as a result of today's meeting we will find a common understanding on the open trade issues. South Africa and Africa are very important partners for the European Union when it comes to climate change, when it comes to multilateralism. It is in the interest of the two parties – South Africa and the European Union – to invest more. It will be done.”

In his remarks, European Council President Donald Tusk stated: “Our talks today demonstrate that, from climate change and migration to trade and security, we can develop an even stronger partnership between us, which would be a powerful example to the rest of the world.

“Today, we had a productive discussion on how to address common challenges and how to strengthen our ties. South Africa is a key player, both regionally and globally, and we will step-up our cooperation accordingly, to defend our shared values and interests. These include support for multilateral solutions, including trading system, and the rules-based global order, which will be discussed in two weeks’ time at the G20 in Argentina. Next year, South Africa will be on the United Nations Security Council, providing another opportunity to enhance our cooperation on peace and security further.

“Also when it comes to migration. South Africa is a destination country for migrants and refugees. So, it is important for both of us that sending-countries take back irregular economic migrants, when requested.

“Last but not least, we discussed Brexit. South Africa, like all our international partners, is concerned by Brexit. We updated President Ramaphosa on the state of play of negotiations, and assured him that the EU will do its utmost to keep partner countries informed and to reduce the negative impact of the Brexit process.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his remarks, said: “The outcomes of this Summit support and reinforce the initiatives we have launched in South Africa to accelerate investment, create jobs and promote growth in our economy. The Summit builds on the successes of the Presidential Jobs Summit and inaugural South Africa Investment Conference held in October.

“We used the opportunity of this Summit to reinforce our ties with Europe and to obtain the EU’s support for our economic and development agenda.

“The EU is South Africa’s largest trading partner and largest foreign investor. The value of trade between South Africa and the EU has increased nearly four-fold since 2000. Over 2,000 EU companies operate in South Africa creating more than 500,000 direct and indirect jobs.

“Together with the EU, we have committed ourselves to exploring opportunities for investment, technical assistance, and the improvement of business and investment climates to promote sustainable development. We have also agreed to strengthen cooperation on investment in support of economic development, infrastructure, industrialisation, skills development, small business development and entrepreneurship.

“We will work together to support the digital transformation of the economy in an inclusive manner by supporting digital innovation, digital infrastructure, the information society, and by fostering digital skills for all. Together, these will boost overall productivity, social inclusion, living standards and an efficient use of natural resources.”

In the area of trade, President Ramaphosa continued: “We are pleased with the implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and the Southern African Development Community, which has created the foundation for a new and mutually beneficial economic relationship between the EU and partners in Southern Africa.

“South Africa and the EU are equally determined to promote free, fair and inclusive trade and the rules-based multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organisation at its centre.”

Joint statement of the 7th EU-South Africa summit

Mr. Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, and Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa, met in Brussels on 15 November 2018 for the 7th Summit between the European Union (EU) and South Africa, and noting that the last Summit took place in 2013, issued the following statement:

  1. We, the leaders of the European Union and South Africa, reaffirm the importance of our Strategic Partnership based on shared principles, equality and interests. We note that our meeting takes place 100 years after the birth of Nelson Mandela and is an opportunity to build on his unique legacy.

Multilateral cooperation

  1. We recommit to working together to support multilateralism, democracy and the rules-based global order, in particular at the United Nations and global trade fora, to jointly promote development, security and human rights for all. South Africa’s upcoming term as an elected member of the United Nations Security Council in 2019-2020 presents an opportunity to enhance cooperation on peace and security. As part of our commitment to stronger global governance, we support the process of UN reform, including efforts on the comprehensive reform of the UN Security Council and the revitalisation of the work of the General Assembly. We agree that enhanced cooperation will be vital in multilateral fora addressing global challenges and crisis situations. We agree to coordinate positions, where feasible, in view of the upcoming G20 Summit in Argentina.

  2. We are determined to promote free, fair and inclusive trade and the rule-based multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization (WTO) being at its core, and serving the interest of all its members. We are deeply concerned about the systemic impact of protectionist measures that are incompatible with WTO rules and that put the multilateral trading system at risk. We commit to work together to address the root causes of the challenges faced by the multilateral trading system through strengthening the WTO with the aim of improving its effectiveness and functioning as well as overcoming the present difficulties regarding the effective functioning of the Appellate Body of the dispute settlement mechanism. We also commit to engage in discussions at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) on investor-state dispute settlement reform, while further engaging in discussions in other relevant fora on provisions in investment treaties especially on how to facilitate and promote more investment towards sustainable development.

  1. We welcome Iran’s continued commitment to the full and effective implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as confirmed by the IAEA in thirteen reports, and in line with its obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. We call on the remaining parties to the JCPOA to continue to honour their commitments under the Agreement. We recall that the JCPOA, which is working and delivering on its goal, is a key element of the global non-proliferation architecture and a significant diplomatic achievement endorsed unanimously by the UN Security Council in its Resolution 2231. We stress the importance of the preservation and continued, full and effective implementation of all aspects of the JCPOA, which includes sanctions lifting and the consequences arising from it, in the interest of regional and international peace and security. We call upon Iran to play a constructive role in the region and to refrain from any activities which are inconsistent with UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

  2. We share concerns about the erosion of the global norm against the production, use and stockpiling of chemical weapons. We fully support the work of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in strengthening implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

  3. We express our joint commitment to ensuring a successful outcome for COP 24, including the Paris Agreement Work Programme and the mandated high level events, in pursuit of the objective of the United Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). We have taken note of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report, which unequivocally confirmed the negative impacts of climate change and indicated that global emission reductions in all sectors are crucial and that further action is needed in mitigation and adaptation, notably to reach the temperature goal as set out in the Paris Agreement.

  4. We commit to strengthening cooperation on migration, which requires a comprehensive international response, including to address the root causes of irregular migration. We note that safe, orderly and regular migration can contribute positively to growth and sustainable development in countries of origin, transit and destination. We take note of the discussions at the United Nations level on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees, which can contribute to strengthening the international response to migration flows and refugee situations.

  5. We agree to strengthen cooperation at the United Nations Human Rights Council and other multilateral fora and to continue to engage on human rights issues in the framework of the South Africa-European Union Structured Dialogue Forum on Human Rights, especially as regards the respect for, the promotion, protection and fulfilment of all universally recognised human rights and fundamental freedoms in multilateral fora, supporting the moratorium on death penalty as a first step towards its universal abolition, ensuring the full implementation of all human rights of all women and girls as an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, empowering women and girls and achieving gender equality, eliminating all forms of gender-based violence, protecting the rights of the child, advancing the rights of people with disabilities, as well as preventing and punishing the crime of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity in compliance with the international human rights law and international humanitarian law. We confirm our commitment in particular to the full and effective implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, and the outcomes of their review conferences.

  6. We underline the importance of reinforcing global and regional natural resources governance, including tackling illegal exploitation, in order to promote sustainable development, especially in relation to minerals and wildlife. We will take forward our joint work in the Kimberley Process, as well as in the context of CITES, and in particular its 18th Conference of the Parties in May-June 2019. We agree to step up cooperation on ocean governance building on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and follow-up to the 2018 Our Ocean Conference.

Bilateral Cooperation

  1. Over the past years the EU and South Africa have deepened cooperation through twenty policy dialogues in areas such as climate change, natural resources, science and technology, research and innovation, employment, education and training including digital skills, health, energy, macro-economic policies, human rights and peace and security. We welcome the revival of the South Africa-EU Forum on Environment, Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Water. In this regard we agree to further cooperate in the areas identified in the Terms of Reference of the dialogue, which include bio-diversity, circular economy and water resources management issues among others, also involving our private sector operators.

  2. We acknowledge the strengthening of science and technology cooperation through new strategic focus areas of cooperation, including in the marine, bioeconomy and nanotechnology sectors, while opening-up to more innovation oriented activities. This has been facilitated through several scientific exchanges as well as the signing of the Belém Statement on Atlantic Research and Innovation Cooperation; the joining of the International Bioeconomy Forum as well as through the upcoming signing of the Collaboration Arrangement with the Joint Research Centre. The area of research infrastructures remains a key area for continued cooperation. We look forward to stepping up collaboration in key areas such as open science, big data platforms, digital and Information and Communications Technology, as well as sectors linked to Industry 4.0. These are important for our joint efforts towards innovation as well as growing the necessary jobs and skills base. We welcome and support initiatives in the science and research domains that are of benefit to Africa, including the European Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership.

  3. We reaffirm our commitment to enhance cooperation towards addressing challenges of inequality and poverty, to achieving gender equality and our shared interest in fostering investments notably towards sustainable development, decent jobs, especially for young people and using a gender-sensitive approach. Our partnership should contribute to South Africa’s socio-economic transformation agenda in support of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

  4. Since South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994 and the signing of the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) in 1999, the EU has supported comprehensive development assistance programmes with a total contribution to South Africa amounting to €3 billion. We agree to work towards the consolidation of gains achieved and continue to support good governance and democracy, innovation, exchange of expertise and best practices. New strategies and tools for cooperation and the use of innovative instruments such as blending and guarantees will also be considered to diversify our cooperation and enhance its effectiveness. The EU and South Africa will, amongst others, explore the opportunities provided by the EU External Investment Plan under its three pillars.

  5. Recognizing the EU as a significant and long term investor in South Africa, we commit to exploring all of the opportunities for investment, technical assistance including project preparation, and the improvement of business and investment climates to promote sustainable development. Acknowledging South Africa’s successful hosting of the Job Summit and Investment Conference in October 2018 that showcased new opportunities for investment in South Africa, as reflected in the Case for Investing in South Africa, and policy initiatives that are helping to create an investment-friendly environment, we agree to strengthen cooperation on investment in support of economic development, infrastructure, industrialisation, skills development, small business development and entrepreneurship in accordance with the priorities identified in South Africa’s socio-economic agenda. We support the digital transformation of the economy in an inclusive manner by supporting digital innovation, digital infrastructure, the information society, and by fostering digital skills for all, in order to boost overall productivity, social inclusion, living standards and an efficient use of natural resources.

  6. We agree that attracting direct investment will contribute to support growth and fight against poverty, unemployment and inequality in South Africa. Therefore we are committed to enhancing bilateral investments by improving skills for employability, and by ensuring a conducive and value-based business environment, within transparent and predictable policy and regulatory frameworks, and with the aim to ensure accountability and competitive practices. To this end, we agree to establish, where appropriate, an ad hoc multi-stakeholder dialogue on investment, with the aim of deepening strategic cooperation in key sectors.

  7. We exchanged views on land reform and the Constitutional process in South Africa and how to maintain investor confidence, promote agricultural production, improve food security and reduce poverty, as key components of our partnership.

  8. We reiterate our commitment to respecting the WTO Agreements on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures and on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT). In order to find mutually acceptable solutions to impediments to trade in agriculture, agri-food and manufactured goods, we agree to strengthen our dialogue and cooperation on TBT and SPS issues, including regionalization concerns of both the EU and South Africa.

  9. We welcome the conclusion and provisional implementation in 2016 of the EU-Southern African Development Community (SADC) – Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which has created the foundation for a new and mutually beneficial economic relationship between the EU, South Africa and the other partners of the EU-SADC EPA. We underline the benefits of the full and effective implementation of the EU-SADC EPA, including with regard to expanded and enhanced protection of Geographical Indications (GIs) as provided for in the EU-SADC EPA. The implementation of the EU-SADC-EPA in line with the development-orientated focus of the Agreement can make a significant contribution to reinforcing mutually beneficial and inclusive trade and to enhancing regional integration.

  10. We also commit to work towards a prompt resolution of trade impediments – including the agriculture and agri-food sector – affecting smooth trade flows, where relevant, bilaterally and/or with other SADC EPA Member States in the framework of the EU-SADC EPA.

Regional cooperation

  1. We confirm our commitment to a stronger and sustainable partnership between the African Union and the EU and agree to the full implementation of the outcomes of the 5th AU-EU Summit in 2017, and to continue to support and solidify the gains made by the African Union’s Agenda 2063, its First Ten Year Implementation Plan and the various African Flagship Programmes. We welcome the new Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs as put forward by the European Commission.

  2. We confirm our common resolve to reform the future relationship between the EU and the countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States. We look forward to the successful conclusion of negotiations for a post-Cotonou Partnership Agreement that will contribute towards the attainment of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063.

  3. We welcomed each other’s role in fostering peace and security in our respective regions and noted South Africa’s important regional and continental role in peace and security.

  4. We agree to identify possible areas for cooperation on Security and Defence and related matters. We further agree to explore opportunities to enhance our cooperation in peace and security, conflict prevention and in mediation, including through exchanging best practices and lessons learned from our respective engagements, and to identify opportunities for concrete operational cooperation, dedicating special attention to advancing the global Women, Peace and Security agenda, especially in promoting meaningful participation and leadership of women in peace processes.


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