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Сряда, 14 ноември 2018 г. - Страсбург Редактирана версия

10. Тържествено заседание - Южна Африка
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  President. – Dear colleagues, it is my pleasure to welcome the President of the Republic of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa. This important visit takes place ahead of the Seventh EU-South Africa Summit, to be held in Brussels tomorrow.

President Ramaphosa, you are the fifth African leader to address this Chamber in the past year. As you can see, strengthening ties with the African continent is a priority for us, but also for me it is one of the most important points for my presidency.

Let me begin by saying that the European Parliament proudly joined the worldwide celebrations to commemorate Nelson Mandela’s legacy on the centenary of his birth. He was, as you know, the first person to receive the Sakharov Prize in 1988, in recognition of his struggle to end apartheid and his fight to pursue equal rights for all. We will always remember this great man with admiration and immense respect.

Mr President, in February of this year, you became South Africa’s new president. Your reforms are contributing to revitalise South Africa’s economy by attracting foreign investments, enhancing private-sector competitiveness, creating jobs, especially for the young, fighting corruption and inequality, and improving citizens’ rights.

We welcome your agenda and are confident that in tomorrow’s summit we will open a new chapter in our partnership. However, structural challenges in South Africa remain: poverty, income inequality and unemployment are at the top of the list.

The EU stands ready to support you in tackling these challenges. Through stronger economic diplomacy and an ambitious ‘Marshall plan’ for Africa, we can help you attract investment. South Africa is a champion of multilateralism, an active member of the African Union and of the Southern African Development Community. It is the only African member of the G20. This means we have to work together on our most pressing common challenges – trade, climate change, terrorism, migration and unemployment.

I also wish to congratulate you on the election of your country as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council starting next year. South Africa has a great role to play regionally and on the global stage.

President Ramaphosa, thank you once more for being here with us. You have the floor.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa. – Mr President, it is indeed a great honour and a privilege to have this opportunity to address this gathering, particularly in the centenary year of the birth of Nelson Mandela, the founding father of our democratic nation, a revered statesman and a committed internationalist. We celebrate the centenary knowing well that Nelson Mandela does not belong to us as South Africans. He belongs to all of us, and indeed to the world.

(Applause)

He is one person who, through his life and deeds, proved to all the people across the world that championing human rights and doing what is right in terms of embracing universal values was the right thing to do, and that is precisely what he dedicated his life to. He belongs not only to those who lived through the tumultuous events of the last century, but he also belongs to the generations that are going to follow all of us. We live in the world that Nelson Mandela and many other great leaders of his age made.

We are grateful to the European Union and to the people, as well as the leaders, of Europe for the tributes they have paid in many different ways to Nelson Mandela on the occasion of his birth, and for this we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We say thank you for honouring Nelson Mandela in the way that you have.

(Applause)

It is indeed a testament to the universal appeal of his vision that he is as revered on this continent as he is across the African continent. We remember with the nations of the world the centenary of the armistice that marked the end of the First World War. We pay tribute to all those who lost their lives in that great human tragedy, including the many South Africans of all races who also fought in that war and who perished on these foreign shores.

(Applause)

Twenty—six years ago, in the city of Maastricht, the leaders of Europe signed the historic Treaty that would mark a new era in the continent’s history. Now, more than a quarter of a century later, that affirmation of democracy, of liberty, of respect for human rights, of fundamental freedoms and the rule of law continues to endure. These timeless values are indeed beacons of hope in our troubled times, for – despite our greatest efforts – the world today is blighted by conflict, poverty and underdevelopment in a number of poor countries. There is still a lack of meaningful social progress, unrest and displacement. The spectre of the resurgence of racism and xenophobia, cloaked in the mantle of nationalism, is rising and is causing a great deal of concern in a number of places. Unilateralism is on the rise and threatens, in many ways, to undermine our collective commitment to democratic values and respect for human rights.

Now, more than ever, we turn to our great leaders for strength and inspiration as we seek to resolve the most pressing challenges of our times. We recall their words and their actions as we reaffirm our commitment to democratic values and upholding the rights of every human being. It was the great statesman and friend of the anti-apartheid cause, Olof Palme, the former Prime Minister of Sweden, who said, ‘for us, democracy is a question of human dignity. This includes political liberties, the right to freely express our views, the right to criticise and to influence opinion. It embraces the right to health, work, to education and social security’. This view of democracy resonates with Nelson Mandela’s vision of a global community of nations that affirms the centrality of human dignity and strives through all means available to improve the human condition.

Just four months after his release from prison in 1990, Nelson Mandela paid his first visit to the European Parliament to receive the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. He used this occasion to thank the leaders and the people of Europe for their contribution to the liberation of South Africa. I also stand here, like Nelson Mandela, and thank the people of Europe for the contribution that they made to end apartheid, and we say thank you for all the support you gave us during the dark days of apartheid. Thank you very much.

(Applause)

Nelson Mandela also used the opportunity, as he addressed this European Parliament, to call on the nations of Europe to continue to stand by South Africa as we sought to rebuild our country. We are here today to confirm that, indeed, the nations of Europe answered the call that Nelson Mandela made with conviction and generosity. We are here today, following in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela, to say that we would urge you and we would call on you to continue supporting South Africa as it has embarked on a journey, not only to reform itself, but to build a new South African nation from the ashes of apartheid. We thank you for continuing to support us.

(Applause)

The European Union was born out of the need to end the historic divisions on the continent, to create a firm base for the construction of a new Europe rooted in solidarity and cooperation, and to contribute to global peace, security and development. The countries of Africa have similarly embarked upon a new path of peace, development and transformation. The African Union’s Agenda 2063 provides a programme for integration and prosperity on a continent that has been wracked by division, exploitation and strife. Nelson Mandela was an ardent advocate for pan—Africanism, and he believed that the continent could only reach her full potential if her peoples were united. In pursuing this goal, there are many lessons we can draw from the European Union’s path to integration, to economic and political union, and to achieving social progress.

South Africa notes the tireless work of the European Parliament to ensure that the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty on the eradication of poverty continue to underpin the EU’s approach to external development cooperation. Since 2007, South Africa and the EU have enjoyed the mutual benefits of a strategic partnership that continues to play a meaningful role in our country’s economic growth. It covers over 20 sectoral policy dialogues on diverse issues from development cooperation, science and technology, health, climate change, trade, education, skills development to peace migration, security and human rights as well.

An integral part of this partnership are the interparliamentary meetings between the South African Parliament and the European Parliament. These meetings have indeed played a crucial role in strengthening South Africa’s, as well as European, relations, contributing to a strategic partnership – a partnership that is based on equality, shared values and issues of mutual interest. Allow me to express our sincere appreciation for the contribution that the European Union – and in this case the European Parliament – have made not only to the development of South Africa, but also towards the achievement of progress across the African continent.

Nelson Mandela led South Africa in its peaceful transition to democracy, but he had a bigger dream: an Africa at peace with itself and the world. In his lifetime, he supported the African Union’s effort towards conflict prevention and resolution, peaceful building, as well as post-conflict reconstruction. He would have joined us in applauding the EU’s support for the AU peace and security architecture and its steadfast support for efforts to silence the guns on the African continent for good. He always argued that lasting peace and security on the continent will not be possible without economic development. Without opportunity, without investment, without thriving economies that enable us all to enjoy our place in the sun, we cannot hope to have political and social stability on the African continent.

We therefore welcome the support of the European Union for Africa’s development needs through initiatives such as the European External Investment Plan, the Economic Partnership Agreement and the new Africa—European Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs. We should strive to ensure that these approaches are developed and implemented in line with Agenda 2063 of the African Union. We should seek to ensure that these developmental initiatives support the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area and Africa’s overall industrialisation infrastructure development, as well as economic transformation.

We need to work together, as the countries of Europe and Africa, to develop sustainable and humane responses to the challenge of irregular migration. This is a challenge that Europe has had to deal with in recent years. So, too, has South Africa, and several African countries have had to deal with this challenge as well in a number of ways. We need to work together to address the root causes of irregular migration, which include poverty, inequality, unemployment, economic exclusion and competition for scarce resources. This should be informed by the principles of solidarity, compassion and an unwavering commitment to the human rights of all the people of the world.

Africa is the cradle of humankind. It is rich in land and water, abundant in minerals, and blessed with a young and vibrant population. It is the next frontier of growth, of innovation and of social progress. To realise this potential, the people of Africa are in the process of uniting themselves. Africa will continue to strengthen the bonds of partnership and friendship with the citizens of her sister continents and, in this case, her sister continent Europe. It is therefore a matter of great satisfaction and promise that our partnership with the European Union is as strong as it has been enduring. It is grounded in responsibility, respect and mutual accountability. The nations of the EU are a source of investment, trade, skills and knowledge, which has worked with us as South Africa in our quest to grow our economy and improve the lives of our people.

As we look to the future, we continue to count on the strength of this partnership between our countries and our peoples. As we advance forward to address the many challenges that our country faces – the challenges of unemployment, of poverty, and of inequality – we rely on Europe to be our partner. Right now, our country is in the process of transforming and reforming itself. We are seeking to create a South Africa that is conducive for investment flows. A few weeks ago, we held an investment conference that attracted a number of European—based companies to come to South Africa, and we were particularly overjoyed when many of them declared that they will continue to invest in South Africa. We were able, at that conference – and another conference that followed – to raise USD 26 billion that will flow into South Africa, and we are grateful for the support that we have enjoyed also from Europe, for that vote of confidence in our economy.

(Applause)

It is this collaboration and partnership that we seek – a collaboration that has bound South Africa and the countries of Europe together in a pact to never again return to the excesses and divisions of the past. As South Africa, we are dealing with a number of issues that have to do with policies, policies that will consolidate South Africa and make our country more stable.

We are in the process of dealing with the question of land reform. Land reform is one of those challenges that our country has had to face over hundreds of years, where the indigenous people of South Africa were denied access to land, and have over the years been yearning to have access to land. We are now at a stage where we are engaging in a dialogue – an overarching dialogue among the people of South Africa, those who own land and those who don’t own land – to see how best this important resource can be utilised to develop our country. Through this, the dialogue is leading us to a point where we are seeking to find solutions that will be inclusive and that will enable all South Africans, as we continue to consolidate our nation and to work together to resolve this problem.

We have said very clearly that this problem of land will be resolved through adherence to the rule of law, through adherence to our constitution, and we will utilise the lessons that Nelson Mandela taught us with regard to resolving problems. We will resolve this problem in an inclusive basis, respecting each other’s human rights, respecting each other’s hopes and aspirations, and making sure – like we did when we resolved the apartheid problem – that we resolve it with a view to building a nation from the ashes of apartheid. This we shall do, because that is what Nelson Mandela taught us. I can assure you that we will resolve the land issue in line with the values that are enshrined in our Constitution and, when we do so, we will have an all—inclusive solution that will make all the people of South Africa work together and move together into the promised future that we see ahead of us.

(Applause)

Unity and partnership, as well as solidarity, are the principles that have underpinned our cooperation across two vast and different continents out of dark histories and into a promising new dawn. South Africa, Africa and the European Union are bound by shared values of democracy and respect for human rights. We share a commitment to the ideals of free and prosperous societies, societies in which all persons live together in harmony with equal opportunities. We owe it to our great forebears, leaders of the calibre of Nelson Mandela, to focus on what unites us and not that which divides us, and to focus also on what benefits all of us and not what enriches and benefits just a few. We owe it to the leaders who are our forebears to build a strategic partnership that endures, that flourishes, and that – above all else – advances the cause of humanity.

We thank you for your friendship, we thank you for your solidarity, we thank you for your partnership, and we thank you all for your support and for your continued help in everything that we are doing to rebuild the South African nation so that we, too, can enjoy the type of progress that you, as Europeans, have achieved. Thank you very much.

(Sustained applause)

 
  
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  President. – President Ramaphosa, thank you very much. The message from the European Parliament is very clear: we want to strengthen cooperation between the European Union and Africa and between the European Union and the Republic of South Africa. Thank you very much for coming.

(Applause)

(Parliament met for the awarding of the LUX prize)

 
Последно осъвременяване: 8 април 2019 г.Правна информация - Политика за поверителност