The European Union must engage more with African countries, the bloc’s chief executive said on Wednesday, accusing Russia of stirring chaos in the Sahel and saying military coups destabilise the region making it prone to risk of terrorism.
“This is of direct concern for Europe – for our security and prosperity,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in her annual policy speech to the European Parliament on Wednesday.
“We need to show the same unity of purpose towards Africa as we have shown for Ukraine. We need to focus on cooperation with legitimate governments and regional organizations,” she said.
Von der Leyen, widely expected to seek a second term at the helm of the EU executive after a continent-wide election next year, spoke as the bloc’s promised major infrastructure spending in the global south moves at a snail’s pace.