Remarks by Minister Nkoana-Mashabane on the occasion of the Joint Press Conference following the conclusion of the 13th SA-EU Ministerial Political Dialogue with the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini, 26 February 2016, DIRCO, Pretoria

Ladies and gentlemen of the media,

Today I had the pleasure of hosting my colleague the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini for the 13th Ministerial Political Dialogue.

This Dialogue took place within the context of the SA-EU Strategic Partnership which represents the close collaboration which South Africa has with the European Union.  The Partnership is broad-based and committed to supporting the National Development Plan 2030.

The Strategic Partnership covers over twenty sectoral policy dialogues, covering diverse issues including development cooperation, science and technology, space, communications, migration, health, trade, education and skills development, peace and security and human rights.

We have assessed the state of our cooperation, and have reaffirmed that the Strategic Partnership which is extensive, and covers many areas is working well in pursuit of our mutually beneficial interests.

The European Union as a bloc (28 members) is South Africa’s largest trading partner and largest foreign investor. Over 2000 EU companies operate within South Africa creating over 350 000 jobs, and producing value added goods which are exported and which contribute substantially to skills development and job creation.

The EU extensively supports our National Development priorities through the Development Assistance, Multi Indicative Programme, which has allocated an amount of €241 million for the cycle 2014-2020.

The Multi Indicative Programme (MIP) outlines three priority areas aligned with objectives of the National Development Plan, namely, employment creation; education, training and innovation; and building a capable and developmental state.

The EU also contributes 100 million Euros (R1.5 billion rand) to infrastructure development for domestic as well as regional programmes.

This morning, we had extensive discussions on the Strategic Partnership, internal developments in the EU and in South Africa, peace and security on the continent, developments in Burundi, South Sudan and in Libya, amongst others as well as terrorism, migration and multilateral issues.

In addition, we have reviewed developments regarding the Middle-East Peace Process, and also expressed great concern at the deteriorating humanitarian situation and civilian casualties in Syria.

May I take this opportunity to invite my colleague, High Representative Mogherini to address you.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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