Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to thank the Ethiopian government and the African Union for the excellent organisation of today's Valletta senior officials meeting and for their great hospitality.
My warmest thanks also go to Burkina Faso and Italy, the chairs of the Rabat and Khartoum processes, for their role in paving the way towards this meeting.
Our cooperation is key and meetings, like the one today, contribute to reinforce our partnership, our unity and the confidence in each other.
Europe and Africa are facing the same challenges. Together we can be stronger.
In times of geopolitical instabilities, we all have shared concerns and shared responsibilities.
It is therefore time to forge equal and strong cooperation, reciprocal commitments, stability and prosperity for the benefit of our citizens on both sides of the Mediterranean.
Africa and Europe should make history together in a spirit of mutual respect and trust.
When it comes to migration and mobility, the challenges we face are common – and so our response can only be common too. We can learn from each other and support each other.
This is why, back in 2015, in Valletta, we all came together, African and European leaders, to design a common and comprehensive approach to managing migration.
Since 2015 we have achieved good results on all aspects identified in the Joint Valetta Action Plan.
We have worked together to: address the root causes of migration, promote safe and legal pathways and continue to grant asylum and international protection to those in need, save lives at sea, prevent irregular and dangerous migration routes, fight smuggling and trafficking in human beings, and strengthen our cooperation on return and readmission.
Let me give you some concrete examples of the European Union’s commitments to stand by its African partner continent, side by side.
The European Union countries decided to resettle at least 50,000 refugees from Africa, the Middle East and Turkey by the end of 2019.
Developing such safe and legal migration channels will also undermine the business model of smuggling networks and contribute to the reduction of irregular migration.
With the Joint African Union – European Union – United Nations Task Force, we assisted more than 15,000 people to voluntarily return to their homes and start a new life, and we evacuated over 1.300 refugees from Libya.
The European Union Trust Fund for Africa has supported all aspects of stability with over €4.1 billion, by promoting resilience, economic and equal opportunities, security and development, and the improvement and implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies, including addressing the root causes of irregular migration.
As part of our comprehensive approach to managing migration together, we have also put in place a better cooperation on return.
This is key to ensure a sustainable and orderly management of migration flows and send a strong signal against dangerous irregular journeys.
Results are there, but more needs to be done, and we all here in this room have a role to play to improve the situation even further.
As I said earlier, our cooperation is not only about migration.
In September, the European Commission also launched a new Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs, which will bring our partnership to the next level and will lead to the creation of up to 10 million jobs in Africa in the next 5 years.
This is about creating possibilities and opportunities for all our citizens.
Europe and Africa are at an important crossroad today, with a historic opportunity to deepen our shared future.
We will continue working together as equal partners, on migration and mobility, but also on security, on trade, on investment and business, in order to secure a stable and prosperous future for the entire region, and for the next generations.
Thank you for your attention.