Irish rock star Bono will meet European Parliament President Antonio Tajani on Wednesday to discuss African development issues, it has been revealed.
The meeting, which is expected to be a closed-door affair with no press conference, will also focus on the importance of voting, ahead of the European Parliament elections next May.
Bono, lead singer of Irish rock band U2, is a vocal proponent of a beefed-up development strategy for Africa. He is also a well-known activist in the fight against AIDS and is the co-founder of ONE, a global campaign and advocacy organisation with more than 9 million members committed to ending extreme poverty.
Speaking about Africa, Tajani said: “We need to see Africa through African eyes, it’s why I am renewing my long-standing call for an ambitious Marshall Plan for Africa in the next EU budget.”
“Prudent public investment can be leveraged tenfold by the private sector, and by creating opportunities on both continents, we will establish a partnership of equals. It’s the only way we can properly address the migrant crisis and give Africa real hope,” he added.
The meeting with Bono comes against a backdrop of a busy week in Parliament, with deputies due to discuss the introduction of a “European Humanitarian Visa” to help asylum seekers and fight human trafficking often involving people fleeing Africa in search of a new life in Europe.
A parliament source said on Monday: “The meeting this week is a good opportunity for Tajani to update Bono on EU action in this area and to discuss what more needs to be done to tackle poverty in Africa.”
“The meeting this week is a good opportunity for Tajani to update Bono on EU action in this area and to discuss what more needs to be done to tackle poverty in Africa”
Referring to next year’s European elections, Tajani described it as “a fight for the future of our citizens.”
“The achievements made possible thanks to the hard work and sacrifices of millions of Europeans are under threat by those who exploit fear and uncertainty. We must make the European Union more effective, not destroy it, and we can defeat populists by continuing to deliver concrete answers.”
“Our citizens are the European project and the European Union can only be as strong as they choose to make it. We have decades of peace and prosperity on our side, but we need Europeans to make their voices heard. It is why I urge everyone to vote in May 2019,” Tajani added.