Brussels, 17 February 2022
• Excellency, Nana Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana
• Excellency, Pedro Sánchez, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Spain
• Excellency, Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, President of the Republic of Mauritania
• Excellency, President Charles Michel
• Excellencies, Heads of State and Government
• Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
The African Union and the European Union have had a long-standing collaboration on peace and security. Good progress has been made.
I commend the European Union for the continued support for the African Peace and Security Architecture.
But security landscape is changing. Terrorism and violent extremism are spreading at an alarming rate.
However, these trends must be put into the right context.
That is why this roundtable considers peace and security alongside governance.
Permit me to give a medical analogy. Good politics and governance are like a healthy human body.
Where governance is compromised, it is like having a weak immune system, which is vulnerable to all kinds of opportunistic infections or attacks.
The symptoms of poor governance include terrorism, divisive nationalism and ethnic politics, or even the lack of trust in public health systems.
There is no way to build sustainable peace and security, both within and between our continents, without putting governance at the centre. Country specific governance, or even global, all affect what we want to achieve.
Economic integration and the training of security forces are important initiatives, but there needs to be a system to hold the gains together.
Accordingly, we need new thinking and new templates for joint action on counterterrorism and peace support operations.
I appreciate President Macron’s recent remarks along these lines. Things need to change.
The need to extend the African Union’s “Silencing the Guns” initiative, to 2030, proves the point.
We cannot afford to stand aside and watch, when the lives of innocent civilians are at risk.
Europe’s stability is also at stake. We are neighbours, and the threats are transnational and cross-border.
A blended bilateral and multilateral approach is a flexible formula that is well-suited to our present challenges.
Each conflict has its own context, but there are tangible results to point to. Examples sre there, in Central African Republic or Mozambique, to both reinforce state capacity, and improve the prospects for success of multilateral efforts.
Bilateral interventions provide a faster response, and can set the stage for credible multilateral forces to partner or take over.
To ensure political gains are consolidated, nevertheless, forces remain engaged on the ground to support.
This requires adequate resources.
A more predictable and sustainable international financing system for bilateral and regional military interventions, is needed.
However, no amount of troops or funding can create sustainable peace.
We must simultaneously address the shortfalls in governance, which are the root cause of insecurity.
As we renew our partnership on peace and security, I hope we will agree on some new directions and approaches.
We want a relationship between the European Union and the African Union that is meaningful and produces concrete results.
We need each other, and that means working as full partners.
I thank you for your kind attention, and I look forward to this productive discussion.