President Cyril Ramaphosa’s SA-EU Summit media briefing remarks
President of the European Council, Mr Donald Tusk
President of the European Commission, Mr Jean-Claude Juncker
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen
Let me begin by conveying the gratitude of my delegation for the warm welcome and excellent hospitality extended to us, in both Strasbourg and Brussels, by our friends and partners in the European Union.
It has been a great privilege to visit this historic city to participate in the long-awaited 7th South Africa-European Union Summit.
Thank you to Presidents Tusk and Juncker for recognising the value of the SA-EU Strategic Partnership, and for providing this opportunity to renew and deepen our cooperation at bilateral, regional and global level.
We have been able to use this opportunity to discuss a whole range of matters that are common between us particularly in relations to accelerating investment and also focusing on issues that have to deal with climate change, human rights and whole number of global matters.
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.
During the Summit we exchanged views on land reform in South Africa.
We underscored that our focus is on maintaining investor confidence, promoting agricultural production, improving food security and reducing poverty.
We affirmed our commitment as South Africa to the values of our Constitution, the rule of law and the principle of equitable and just redress.
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.
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.
We discussed the matter of other countries in our region, particularly Zimbabwe; and we called upon the EU to review its position on Zimbabwe and move towards lifting whatever sanctions they might still have on Zimbabwe because it is on a path of great reforms and we insisted that this needs to be supported as Zimbabwe has turned a wonderful corner
We agreed that South Africa’s upcoming tenure in UN Security Council for the period 2019-2020, alongside five EU Member States and two other African countries, presents an opportunity to enhance cooperation on peace, security, conflict prevention and other global issues.
We will identify opportunities for concrete operational cooperation, dedicating special attention to advancing the global Women, Peace and Security agenda, especially in promoting meaningful participation of women in peace processes.
As part of our shared commitment to promote global peace and stability, we welcomed Iran’s continued commitment to the full and effective implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and called on the remaining parties to the JCPOA to continue to honour their commitments under the Agreement.
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.
The South African delegation conveyed the gratitude of the South African people for the special session that the EU Commission hosted in honour of Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu during the 12th European Development Days held in June, and for their participation in the Global Peace Summit that was convened by the United Nations in honour of Nelson Mandela in September 2018.
Once again, I wish to thank you, Presidents Tusk and Juncker, and all the officials who contributed to making our stay and our engagements today a success.
South Africa looks forward to hosting the 8th SA-EU Summit in the near future.
I thank you.