EU’s Commission President proposes free trade pact with Africa

European Union flags flutter outside the European Central Bank (ECB) headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, April 26, 2018. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

The European Union should offer a free trade agreement and a new investment alliance with African nations.

The European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker stated this during a debate on: “The State of the European Union” at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.

Among various proposals for EU action to bolster prosperity in Africa, the Commission chief called for a more equal partnership and investment rather than aid, as Europeans look for ways to stem an economic divide driving Africans to try to migrate northward.

Juncker said he had talked with African leaders and was proposing an alliance to boost sustainable investment, which he said could create up to 10 million jobs in Africa in the next five years.

Acvording to him, trade between Africa and Eurowas not insignificant – 36 percent of Africa’s trade is with the European Union, compared to 16 percent with China and 6 percent with the United States.

“But this is not enough. I believe we should develop the numerous European-African trade agreements into a continent-to-continent free trade agreement, as an economic partnership between equals,” Juncker told the European Parliament.

It would be recalled that the European Union already has a series of deals with individual African countries, largely in North Africa, as well as additional economic partnerships with African blocs, such as the Southern African Development Community.

Other agreements with other African blocs and countries, designed to increase access to the EU market and promote development, are pending or partly in place.

Peace PIAK