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EU must fix neglected relations with Africa, says Fiala

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06-11-2023 (updated: 06-11-2023 )

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News Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

“It is already happening in other countries, and we must not stand aside,” the prime minister said before his visit to Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, and Ivory Coast. [EPA-EFE/MARTIN DIVISEK]

Europe is aware that it has underestimated cooperation with Africa, which is a situation they are working on changing, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said before his trip to the continent on Friday, where he plans to focus on economic and political issues.

According to Fiala, Czechia must stop looking at Africa as something that is distant. “It is already happening in other countries, and we must not stand aside,” the prime minister said before his visit to Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, and Ivory Coast.

“Not only the Czech Republic, but also the European Union and the countries that historically have much stronger and more natural ties with the African continent, have somewhat underestimated the development of relations with Africa in recent years, or the way we have done it has not been effective enough,” Fiala said.

“We are aware of this, and the debates we are having in the European Council correspond to this,” he added.

The challenge, he said, is the growing influence of Russia and China. “We are trying to change the situation. Yes, Russia is very intensively involved in Africa, and China is even more intensively involved there through various forms of cooperation and contacts. Europe must not stand aside. We must correct what we have neglected,” the Czech Prime Minister said.

According to him, the key EU-Africa issue is migration and how to stop illegal migration flows to Europe. Fiala is convinced that the EU should not only talk to the countries of North Africa but also to other countries from which people are heading north.

Fiala’s trip to Africa has not only a political background but also an economic one. He is accompanied by a Czech business delegation who wants to establish new regional contacts.

According to the prime minister, building new and better relations with Africa is advantageous as the Czech Republic is now trying to diversify its partners in imports and exports.

(Aneta Zachová | Euractiv.cz)

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