PRETORIA, South Africa says it appreciates the European Union’s (EU) continued support of the development cooperation aligned to the National Development Plan (NDP) and the backing it received during the COVID-19 pandemic and the creation of the local mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub.

“This support and partnership enhance Africa’s own capacities,” the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, said.

These were Pandor’s opening remarks during the 15th South Africa-European Union Ministerial Dialogue, currently underway in Pretoria. Pandor was speaking alongside EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Joseph Borrell.

“I hope that during our engagement today we will be able to review all the opportunities for enhancing two-way trade and increasing investment under the existing bilateral and multilateral frameworks,” she said.

“We also greatly appreciate the EU partnership at the regional level and continental level, which through our strategic partnership, can also be enhanced to be more effective.”

She told delegates that the bilateral engagements and events on Thursday, 26 January 2022, were most productive and successful.

These include the ceremonial signing of a number of partnerships, most notably the South Africa-European Union Multi-Annual Indicative Programme; the centrepiece of the strategic relationship between the country and the union, and an integral instrument in the EU’s support for South Africa’s development priorities.

According to the Minister, the delegates also spoke about peace and security issues and developments.

“Our discussions will no doubt contribute to how we seek to address all these pressing challenges through our various levels of engagement including at the United Nations (UN) with our shared commitment to multilateralism, democratic principles and the Rule of Law,” she said, adding that strengthening the UN system is a priority.

“For the first time, the various engagements under the Strategic Partnership are taking place as they were meant to be synchronised.”

She said the parties will soon receive feedback on the South Africa-EU Joint Cooperation Council (JCC), which took place in South Africa on 7 December 2022.

This comes after several decisions were taken to reflect current realities and priorities.

The delegates also discussed the preparations for the 8th South Africa-European Union Summit, which South Africa will host in the first half of 2023.

The summit will touch on political and security cooperation; cooperation in international fora; trade and investment as well as financial flows.

“Regarding the latter issue, South Africa appreciates the technical assistance received from the EU related to the possible greylisting of South Africa by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).”

This is after President Cyril Ramaphosa signed two Acts in December 2022, which it is hoped will assist the country make progress to avoid such a greylisting, which Pandor believes would have disastrous consequences.

Pandor said she also looks forward to addressing global and local challenges, focusing on the Just Energy Transition, Green Hydrogen, health, education, science, technology and innovation.

“All the agenda items are relevant to the strategic partnership including its newer areas of engagement. EU support in these areas can help move South Africa forward on a path of sustainable development.”

Source: Nam News Network