President on a working visit to Belgium

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

President Cyril Ramaphosa is in Brussels, Belgium, as the second leg of his two-day working visit to the European Union (EU) kicks off.

“Bilateral relations between South Africa and Belgium are underpinned by shared values of freedom and democracy and a similar approach to a broad range of international issues, specifically peace and security,” said the Presidency on Wednesday.
South African exports to Belgium include precious stones, organic chemicals, iron, steel and manufactured goods, while relations between Flanders and South Africa is largely driven by development cooperation, but also includes culture, science and innovation, youth policy, education, economy and trade.
While in Belgium, President Ramaphosa will pay courtesy calls on King Philippe Léopold Louis Marie of the Kingdom of Belgium and on Prime Minister Charles Michel. He will also receive a courtesy call from the Minister-President of the Government of Flanders, Geert Bourgeois.
President Ramaphosa is also expected to co-chair the 7th South Africa-European Union (SA-EU) Summit with the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, and the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.
According to the Presidency, issues to be discussed at the summit include progress on the SA-EU Strategic Partnership; bilateral political, economic and development cooperation, and regional and global issues.

South Africa will serve as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the period 2019-2020 alongside five EU member states - France and the UK as permanent members and Germany, Belgium and Poland as elected members.
South Africa is the only African country, and one of 10 globally, that has a Strategic Partnership with the EU, said the Presidency.

The summit takes place under the auspices of the Magôbagôba Dialogue, which was established in 2007, as the umbrella structure for all cooperation between South Africa and the EU.
The EU is South Africa’s largest trading partner and largest foreign investor as a bloc, representing 73.7 percent of total Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) stocks in the country.

The President’s working visit to the EU commenced in Strasbourg, France earlier on Wednesday where the President addressed the European Parliament and met with the European Parliament President Antonio Tajani and Senior European Union leadership. –