Portugal ‘can score important points’ in EU presidency, says Chikoti

  • Lusa
  • 29 June 2020

Georges Chikoti considers that Portugal is the ideal actor to give a new impetus to the relations between Africa and the European Union.

The secretary-general of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States said that Portugal can score important points when chairing the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2021, making use of its vast political-diplomatic experience.

In an interview with Lusa in Brussels, Georges Chikoti welcomed the fact that the European Union is now taking on relations with Africa as a priority, and considers that Portugal is the ideal actor to give a new impetus to this partnership, as it has done in its history of EU presidencies.

Many Portuguese certainly do not know it, but Portugal is probably one of the European countries with the greatest political and diplomatic experience. Not many countries have produced a United Nations secretary-general, António Guterres, a president of the European Commission, Durão Barroso, and many Portuguese diplomats around the world in key posts, he said.

Referring also to Portugal’s vast political-diplomatic experience, the Angolan leader commented with a smile that it is probably not for nothing either that he is currently the secretary-general of the OEACP, attributing his election also to the growing weight and prestige of Portuguese-language community on the world stage.

Regarding the Portuguese presidency of the EU in the first half of 2021, Chikoti said that he would like to see Portugal “choose an important issue of concern, not only for Africa, but also looking at developing countries and particularly the 79 ACP countries, which have a relationship with Europe of almost 50 years, and at a time when negotiations for a new partnership are underway.

Pointing out that he intends to visit Portugal soon, Chikoti noted that he had already had a virtual meeting with the Portuguese secretary of state for foreign affairs, Teresa Ribeiro, in which she was able to verify that in fact, Portugal is preparing very well to assume the presidency of the Union in January.

Looking ahead to the next summit between the European Union and the African Union, scheduled for next autumn during the German presidency, Chikoti sees it as an opportunity for greater political rapprochement between the two continents, because he said he feels there is a common will to do so, and he anticipates that discussions will also focus on issues of peace and security of interest to the regions.

Besides the long instability in the Sahel region, the Angolan leader noted that there is currently a conflict affecting a vast region, from Mali, through Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad, and there is also instability in Central Africa, Sudan, Somalia, and this is an issue that will continue to be of concern and that should be discussed between the parties.