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Decent Work Should Be Core Of EU-Africa Strategy

Decent Work should be at the core of the EU-Africa Strategy

The EU-Africa Summit held in Lisbon on 8 and 9 December failed to put the creation of decent work at the heart of the relationships between these two continents. While the ITUC welcomes the desire to move away from the traditional donor/beneficiary relationship toward a partnership of equals, it deplores the fact that labour issues have not received the attention they deserve.

"Decent work is the legitimate aspiration of both peoples from Europe and Africa and it is regrettable that the EU - Africa Summit did not prioritize it. Despite an average economic growth of 7% throughout the African Continent, the creation of decent and formal work in Africa remains extremely limited. This clearly calls for a stronger political will and the implementation of more pro-active labour policies" says Guy Ryder, ITUC General Secretary.

Maria-Helena André, the ETUC deputy General Secretary, while presenting the Trade Union Statement to the Summit called upon the EU-Africa Strategy to recognize and promote the social dialogue as source of democratic governance and social progress. Unfortunately this recommendation is not well reflected in the agreed Strategic Partnerships and Action Plans.

Despite the official determination expressed by African and European Leaders to work together in the global arena on current key political challenges, such as energy and climate change, migration or gender issues, two issues of serious divergence hung over the Summit.

Firstly, the trade deal proposed by the EU in the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) is generally denounced by African leaders for their expected negative impact on African nations' development. In this regard, the ITUC and ETUC are particularly concerned about the employment effect of EPAs and have called upon the EU to extend the negotiation process beyond the official deadline of 31 December 2007.

Secondly, the presence of President Mugabe of Zimbabwe in the Summit was a source of strong divergence between African and European Leaders. Both ETUC and ITUC who strongly denounce the massive violations of human and trade union rights taking place in this country, had expressed their whish to see the Summit addressing the human rights situation in Zimbabwe. Unfortunately the crisis in Zimbabwe is not even mentioned in the Summit.

Lisbon Declaration - EU Africa Summit (Lisbon, 8-9 December, 2007)

The ITUC represents 168 million workers in 153 countries and territories and has 305 national affiliates.


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