Brussels, 21 November 2005 Press release

Plassnik: “A further building block in the preparation for Austria’s EU Presidency”


Council of Foreign Ministers prepares new EU Africa strategy

Brussels, 21 November 2005 - "For the first time the European Union has devised a comprehensive long-term Africa strategy. We are about to agree on ground-breaking conclusions," said Foreign Minister in Brussels on the margin of today’s meeting of the EU Council of Foreign Ministers.

This is a further building block in the preparation for the Austrian EU Presidency, since "particular importance is attached to the implementation together with the African Union of the strategy, which will be commenced during our EU Presidency".

"One of the main aims of the EU strategy is to enable African organisations to manage African problems themselves and to develop independently," explained the Foreign Minister.

We are seeking to achieve concrete progress for the people of Africa. Europe will also benefit in the long term from more peace and stability and less migration.

Austria is looking to intensify dialogue between the European Union and the African Union. As the project is a long-term undertaking, Finland and Germany, who will follow Austria in holding the EU Presidency, have also been involved.

The strategy will be oriented towards the three main axes of "peace and security", "human rights and good governance" and "poverty prevention and sustainable development".

In the area of "peace and stability", the European Union is supporting measures for safeguarding peace, reform of the security sector and conflict prevention.

"Human rights and good governance" will focus on promoting human rights, women’s rights, the rule of law and democracy.

Regarding "poverty prevention and sustainable development", the main focuses will be regional integration and trade, infrastructure support and the conclusion of trade agreements to improve access to the European market.

Contact for further enquiries:
Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Press Department
In Austria: 050 1150-4549, 4550
Outside Austria: ++43 50 1150-4549, 4550