China the victor as Europe fails to secure trade deal with Africa
European and African leaders have signed a pact promoting free trade and democracy but failed to make a breakthrough on formal trade agreements between the two continents.
At a two-day summit in Lisbon, overshadowed by the presence of the Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, the 53 African and 27 EU nations papered over their differences over Zimbabwe and Darfur.
The new "strategic partnership" is seen by the EU as a way of combating China's growing influence in Africa.
However, there was little sign that the first EU-Africa summit for seven years had made the hoped-for breakthrough on trade. The EU wanted to meet a 31 Decemberdeadline set by the World Trade Organisation for securing a new trading system with former colonies, including those in Africa. But only 15 of the 76 poor countries involved in talks have so far signed economic partnership agreements (EPAs) with Europe.
Abdoulaye Wade, the President of Senegal, said a majority of African leaders at the summit had opposed such agreements. "We are not talking any more about EPAs, we have rejected them," he told reporters. "We are going to meet to see what we can put in place of the EPAs." Claiming that China's approach was winning more friends, he said: "Europe is close to losing the battle of competition in Africa."
Jose Manuel Barroso, the European Commission President, commenting on the trade talks, said: "It is a challenge for both Africans and Europeans and will require time."
Asked what his message to Europe was, President Mugabe said nothing but raised his arm and made a fist. His involvement persuaded Gordon Brown to boycott the summit.
Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, who backed Mr Brown's stance, dramatically removed his dog collar during a live television interview yesterday and vowed not to wear it until President Mugabe was no longer in power. He cut his dog collar into pieces which fell to the studio floor of the BBC's Andrew Marr Show to illustrate what the Zimbabwean leader was doing to his own people.
"Do you know what Mugabe has done? He has taken people's identity and literally, if you don't mind, cut it to pieces," he told a surprised Mr Marr.
The archbishop, who urged people to demonstrate against the Mugabe regime, said: "As far as I am concerned, from now on I am not going to wear a dog collar until Mugabe has gone." He said: "South Africa has got to wake up to the fact that people there are starving."
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
- 3 Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
Germanwings plane crash: Andreas Lubitz 'had eyesight problems' and woke from nightmares 'screaming we’re going down'
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...