Europe-Africa: statement from Comece and Secam about Abidjan summit. “Strong partnership agreement for joint development”

(Brussels) “Common roots” that date back to the beginning of human history and “long-term relationships” bind Africa to Europe “in a genuine bond” that now requires “remedying the economic and social gaps”. This was written in a joint statement by the presidents of the Commission of the EU Bishops Conferences (Comece) and the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (Secam), a few days before the fifth summit of the European Union and the African Union (Abidjan, 29-30 November), which will be focussed on the problems of young people. The Bishops ask to find a “strong partnership agreement” as a “tool for joint development based on shared interests”: they propose, in other words, an “Initiative for intercontinental human dignity” that “will promote the common good” and “increase the influence” of the EU and the AU to “better achieve their goals in global organisations such as the UN”. The list of needs includes “inter- and intra-continental initiatives to heal the memories and for reconciliation”. There are young people who need to be helped in their search for “consistent answers” to “new, unpredictable ideologies about culture, the holiness of human life, marriage and family life, and the loss of spirituality”. Looking at young people, the Bishops ask for “education and training for all, boys and girls”, so that “they can profitably use the opportunities” that technological innovation as well as urbanisation provide, even in job creation.