Europe and Africa are 'sister continents' whose destinies are intertwined, claims Frans Timmermans, Vice President of the European Commission (EC).
Timmermans, who is vying to replace Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the EC, was recently nominated to lead the Party of European Socialists in next year's EU Parliament elections.
During an address to party delegates in Lisbon, Portugal, Timmermans laid out his vision for the EU and Africa as co-dependent bodies, drawing parallels to post-World War II reconciliation efforts and the reemergence of European nations from behind the Iron Curtain of the Soviet Union
"If we do not understand that the development of our sister continent is of essential importance for our collective future, then we will make a huge mistake," Timmermans said. "It is a matter of destiny."
"Whose fate is going to be dealt with by whom? Europe's fate by Africans, Africa's fate by Europeans – we're in this together. Our destinies are linked, and the only way we can get the migration issue under control and manageable – without losing track of our values – is if we are part of a sustainable development of Africa in all senses of the word."
Timmermans vowed that if he becomes head of the EC, he "will make sure" all European nations share in the "common responsibility" of Africa – likely a reference to facilitating increased migration from a continent whose population is conservatively projected by the UN to reach 4.4 billion by 2100.
He asserted that a "substantial part" of the next EC budget should be allocated for "integration" services and infrastructure for migrants, including new schools, medical facilities, and language education.
Timmermans issued predictable condemnations of nationalism and populism currently sweeping the West in reaction to globalism, calling the outcome of the 2016 Brexit referendum the "absolute low point" of his political career.
"I know that many of you would have liked to have seen a woman standing where I am standing now," Timmersman said in the latter half of his speech. "Sadly that's not something I can offer. The only thing I can do is offer a male feminist, and that's who I am."
(PHOTO: Joaquin Sanchez / AFP / Getty Images)