‘European Union must help Africa, even in its own interest’ says EU Foreign Policy rep
“The European Union must help the more vulnerable third-world countries to combat the new coronavirus, particularly on the African continent, where the pandemic can very quickly get out of control”, a notable figure of European diplomacy warned this Friday.
At the end of a video conference of EU Foreign Ministers, the High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, pointed out that one of the points discussed was the strengthening of international cooperation and assistance to third-world countries, something all 27 EU countries agreed on, even if it’s in the EU’S own interest.
“In terms of international cooperation, we agreed that this is a global crisis and that the answer must be global, and priority should be given to assisting the most vulnerable countries, as this is also in our long-term interest […] We cannot resolve this pandemic only at home. Even if we solve the problem in Europe, it will not be solved if it is not solved everywhere, because it can come back at any time”, he emphasized. Following the same train of thought, the head of EU diplomacy pointed out that “if the problem is not solved in Africa, it will not be solved in Europe”, and admitted that “Africa is a matter of particular concern” for the European Union.
“They are our neighbours and the pandemic there can get out of hand very quickly. Unfortunately, they do not have the same health care capabilities. Just remember that in Europe we have 37 doctors per 10,000 inhabitants, while in Africa they have one doctor per 10,000 inhabitants”, he pointed out. “So it is obvious that the same threat can do much more damage in Africa than in Europe. We have to help Africa in our own interest, because if the pandemic spreads there, it may well return to Europe”, he reinforced.
Borrell indicated that he requested the holding of a meeting of European Union ministers of development next week to discuss assistance packages to help Africa cope with the pandemic, which has reached 50 of the 55 African countries and territories so far.
Still, the EU’s head of diplomacy added that in certain countries of the globe and in certain conflict zones, “like Syria, Libya or Yemen, the devastating effects of the coronavirus can be multiplied by joining two conflicts at the same time”. “That is why we fully support the efforts of the UN Secretary-General [António Guterres] to coordinate a global response to the pandemic, just as we support his call for a global ceasefire,” concluded Borrell.