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Document 22018P1207(03)

Minutes of the afternoon sitting of Tuesday, 19 June 2018

OJ C 443, 7.12.2018, p. 7–8 (BG, ES, CS, DA, DE, ET, EL, EN, FR, HR, IT, LV, LT, HU, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SK, SL, FI, SV)



Official Journal of the European Union

C 443/7


(2018/C 443/03)



Urgent topic No 1: The humanitarian crisis in South Sudan 7


Demographic growth: challenges and opportunities 7


The global compact on migration 8


(The sitting opened at 15.10)



1.   Urgent topic No 1: The humanitarian crisis in South Sudan

Presentation by Christos Stylianides, Member of the Commission with responsibility for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management

Speakers: Daba Tesfaye (Ethiopia), Bogdan Brunon Wenta, Halifa Sallah (Gambia), Cécile Kashetu Kyenge, Jacob Oulanyah (Uganda) and Eleni Theocharous.

Members expressed serious concern about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in South Sudan. They called on the African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the European Union and the international community to bring pressure to bear on the parties to the conflict to cease fighting and return to peace talks. They called for unhindered access for humanitarian organisations, and also called for those blocking access as well as any other perpetrators of war crimes to be brought to justice. They highlighted the regional dimension of the conflict, welcoming efforts by neighbouring countries in taking in close to three million refugees.

This was further underlined by Commissioner Christos Stylianides, Member of the European Commission with responsibility for humanitarian aid and crisis management, who reiterated that this was a ‘100 % man-made catastrophe’ and complete disregard for international humanitarian law. He stressed the continued commitment of the EU to the crisis and announced a further 68 million euros in humanitarian assistance to Sudan and South Sudan on top of more than 412 million euros to South Sudan since the end of 2013.

Speakers: Catherine Bearder, João Ferreira, Bodil Valero, Joachim Zeller, Julie Ward, Anna Záborská, Moses Cheboi (Kenya), Suhair A. Salah M. Ahmed (Sudan) and Jean-Luc Schaffhauser.

2.   Demographic growth: challenges and opportunities

Keynote debate with Benoit Kalasa, Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

Speakers: Alain Michel Lobognon (Côte d'Ivoire), Michael Gahler, Musa Hussein Naib (Eritrea), Julie Ward, Daba Tesfaye (Ethiopia), Eleni Theocharous, Halifa Sallah (Gambia), Ben Abdallah Banda (Ghana), Amadou Dioffo (Niger), Maria Lidia Senra Rodríguez, Suhair Ahmed Salah (Sudan), Adjedoue Weidou (Tchad), Frank Engel, Juliet Suubi Kinyamatama (Uganda), João Ferreira, Cécile Kashetu Kyenge, Carlos Zorrinho, Anna Záborska, Tadeusz Zwiefka, Sarah Kioko (Kenya), William Nokrach (Uganda), Arne Gericke and Miguel Exposito Verdejo (Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, Commission).

Dr Benoit Kalasa, Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) pointed out that even though the fertility rate had declined throughout the world, population growth in Africa is not slowing down, as there is a much larger number of women of childbearing age. It is estimated that by 2050 Africa’s current population of 1,2 billion will increase to 4,4 billion, and the five most populous countries in the world will be in Africa. This implies challenges for these countries facing a rapid urbanisation by rural societies migrating to the cities or neighbouring countries facing poor infrastructure, insecurity, and low quality jobs. To capitalize on the demographic dividend each country needed to guarantee the rights of all young people to plan their lives, be free of violence and trauma, be assured of essential freedoms and reproductive rights, and with access to quality education and mentoring.

Members highlighted the urgent need to promote gender issues, to provide education, health care, food security, capacity building and employment to youth.

Benoit Kalasa responded to questions from the floor and wound up the debate by noting that there has been no demographic dividend so far and that it will not happen as long as millions of women and girls worldwide continue to be hampered in their development and if people have only restricted opportunities or none, no access to education or health care and limited capabilities. He ended by saying that population growth is a global issue and therefore should be dealt with globally.

3.   The global compact on migration

Debate without resolution with Eugenio Ambrosi, International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Regional Director for European Economic Area (EEA), the European Union and the NATO

IOM Regional Director Eugenio Ambrosi highlighted the fact that for the first time, a globally shared comprehensive approach will be negotiated, leading to the conclusion in December 2018 of two compacts on migration and refugees respectively.

Speakers: Musa Hussein Naib (Eritrea), Michael Gahler, Daba Tesfaye (Ethiopia), Cécile Kashetu Kyenge, Halifa Sallah (Gambia), Ben Abdallah Banda (Ghana), Sabine Lösing, Suhair A. Salah M. Ahmed (Sudan), György Hölvényi, Julie Ward, Anna Záborská, Željana Zovko, Francesc Gambús, Louis Michel and Camilla Hagström (Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, Commission).

While Members were unanimous on the question of respect for human rights and dignity regardless of the individual’s legal status, it was clear that details on granting social security benefits remain to be negotiated. Members also understood the urgency of opening legal possibilities for economic migration that match the needs of destination countries while avoiding a brain drain for countries of origin. Members insisted on the importance of respecting the rights of migrants including their right to return and at the same time they maintained the priority of combating the root causes of migration. Parliaments should apply their legislative and scrutiny powers and raise awareness to bring to bear on the last round of negotiations.

(The sitting closed at 18.21)




Patrick I. GOMES