The President of European Parliament, Martin Schulz, urged African governments and national parliaments not to be intimidated and feel threatened by the soon-to-be full legislative Pan-African Parliament (PAP), saying it did not constitute a threat but rather as driving force behind executive powers.
Germany-born Schulz was speaking early this week at the PAP Second Ordinary Session in Midrand, Johannesburg. Schulz’s warning comes at a time when the nine-year-old institution prepares to enter the most important phase of its history: to be vested with full legislative powers.
Many observers believe PAP has, all these years, remained like a powerless little baby unable to bite due to the selfishness of many of Africa’s power-hungry leaders who appear to have a bad feeling about this insttitution, believing that a stronger PAP will threaten their national sovereignty, and curtail challenge their ‘irresponsible’ style of leadership.
But Martin said a strong PAP would ensure, for instance, that consultative parliamentarian processes are followed before key strategic decisions are taken, which could have an impact on Africa’s development. “Parliamentarian scrutiny could cover issues relating to sustainable development, the exploitation of Africa’s vast mineral resources, trade, investment, among others,” he said.
Schulz said the European Parliament will continue to strengthen its relationship and cooperation with PAP, and will support its efforts to transition into a fully legislative body.
It is good for the African Union and the European Union not to lose sight on their shared values at a time when Africa – like Europe did before – was striving to foster regional integration. “We are living in an increasingly connected world where citizens are incredibly connected and Africa is no exception. This will impact on the way PAP interacts with Africans,” Schulz said.
Bearing in mind that communist China’s ‘exploitative’ domination and neo-colonialism of Africa has dimmed Europe’s love affair with Africa, Schulz admitted that the Africa-EU Joint Strategic Partnership had fallen short of its goals, adding that it was necessary to review its priorities and mechanisms.
Despite the financial crisis that is tearing the oldest continent apart, the European Parliament said Europe will not abandon Africa, saying it will oppose any efforts to reduce the flow of cooperation funds heading towards Africa. “We cannot shy away from our responsibility for the less fortunate citizens in the world,” Schulz concluded.