Remarks to the Media by President Jacob Zuma at the conclusion of the 6th SA-European Union Summit, Pretoria, 18 July 2013
Your Excellencies President Von Rompuy and President Barroso,
Ministers and Commissioners,
Members of the Media
Let me once again welcome the esteemed EU leadership and delegation to our country today.
We are honoured to host the 6th SA-EU Summit as we value this strategic partnership immensely.
We meet on an important day of celebration in our country, the 95th birthday of the first President of a free and democratic South Africa and a foremost fighter for freedom, human rights and justice, former President Nelson Mandela.
We thank the international community for the on-going support and the international display of love for Madiba, whom we are so proud to share with the world.
As said earlier, Madiba’s condition in hospital continues to improve steadily and we are very encouraged by this development.
This year has seen the biggest Madiba birthday celebration ever. We regard this exciting development as a fitting tribute to the triumph of the South African people against institutionalised racism, led by Madiba and many other illustrious freedom fighters.
In essence, our discussions today focused on a central theme namely; “Job Creation through Inward Investment”.
This theme is in response to the diverse demands of our National Development Plan – Vision 2030 aimed at taking forward the vision of a prosperous society that former President Mandela laid down in 1994.
Our partnership with the EU has borne fruit. A total of 77% of South Africa’s total foreign direct investment stock originate from the EU.
Between January 2008 and May 2013 a total of 350 foreign direct investment projects were recorded. During the period, a total of 48,686 jobs were created in South Africa.
During the same timeframe, a total of 46 foreign direct investment projects from South Africa into the EU were recorded, representing a total capital investment of 10.53 billion rand.
The investments by 37 South African companies in the EU countries created a total of 2,371 jobs in the EU, spread over a diverse range of sectors.
To further boost economic ties, our productive meeting further discussed trade and investment and also reviewed the continuing negotiations on the Economic Partnership Agreement between SADC and the EU.
We also discussed issues pertaining to the Citrus Black Spot in the export of our fruit to Europe.
We remain concerned about the trade deficit which is largely in Europe’s favour. We have urged our Ministers and the Commissioners of the EU to work harder on the removal of non-tariff barriers to trade.
Earlier today we also received and welcomed the Declaration of the Second SA-EU Business Forum, which again provided a platform for the promotion of economic, trade, business and investment ties.
Our collaboration traverses many sectors including science and technology, agriculture, education and skills development, health and other fields. Our talks covered these and other areas as well.
South Africa is still faced with the inherited challenges of unequal wealth and resource distribution, inequality, unemployment and deeply entrenched poverty.
We are of the firm view that given these realities, the EU should continue its development programmes in South Africa, complementing as they do, the work of government, within a developmental framework.
We look forward to a continued mutually beneficial partnership and are pleased with the fruitful discussions earlier today.
We have agreed on a Joint Communiqué that will be made available to you, which covers all the issues.
May I now invite President Von Rompuy and President Barroso to address the media.
I thank you.