Tripoli, 22 November 2006 Press release

Winkler: "Joint concepts for a better future"


State Secretary Hans Winkler at the EU-African Union Ministerial Conference on Migration and Development

Tripoli, 22 November 2006 - "Today, an open, honest dialogue about migration and development along with close consultation and cooperation between the EU and Africa are more important than ever. Loss of livelihood and lack of prospects, need and poverty, conflicts in a particular country or region and natural disasters also have an impact on the neighbouring countries and thus on Europe", said State Secretary Hans Winkler at the EU-African Union Ministerial Conference on Migration and Development in Tripoli.

"The EU and Africa are vigorously pursuing the common goal of preventing further humanitarian crises and permanently eliminating existing problems. Only a comprehensive approach and concrete efforts at global, national and regional level will enable us to combat the root causes of migration, prevent trafficking in human beings and illegal migration and create the basis for a better future for many people in their native countries", the State Secretary emphasised. "Decisions already taken must be implemented and the dialogue with the African states, the African Union and the numerous regional organisations have to be expanded and harmonised", Winkler continued.

"Sustainable development cannot take place without security and stability. Security and peace, good governance, economic development and employment, but also education and environmental protection, are all closely interrelated with migration. Only a holistic approach embracing development cooperation as well as security issues can lead to lasting improvements", stressed the State Secretary. "We also have to devote special attention to protection of and respect for human rights, and particularly to the protection of women and children. Every individual must have the possibility to exercise and defend his or her rights in order to escape inhuman and degrading treatment."

At the end of 2005 the European Council adopted an EU Strategy for Africa, the aim of which is to promote sustainable development in Africa. The Strategy addresses the African continent as one entity, overarches existing regional agreements and places the EU's various Africa-related strategies and policies within an overall context. The dialogue between Europe and Africa creates the necessary framework for cooperation at regional and bilateral level. The highlight of the regional cooperation to date was the Euro-African Ministerial Conference held in Rabat in July 2006, which pursued the goal of alleviating the effects of uncontrolled migration flows by means of practical measures and thus improving the existing situation. Under the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2006 numerous efforts were already undertaken to drive forward bi-regional contacts between the EU and the African Union on migration issues.

Ministry for Foreign Affairs
State Secretary’s Office
Katharina SWOBODA
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3469
Fax: ++43 (0) 50 1159-3469