September 12, 2018 / 4:24 AM / in a month

EU's Juncker eyes Africa free trade pact

STRASBOURG (Reuters) - The European Union could one day offer a free trade agreement to the whole of the African continent, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will say in a keynote speech on Wednesday, an EU official said.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker delivers a speech during a debate on The State of the European Union at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, September 12, 2018. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

Among various proposals for EU action to bolster prosperity in the world’s poorest continent and Europe’s close neighbor, the Commission chief would call for a more equal partnership and investment rather than aid, as Europeans look for ways to stem an economic divide driving Africans to try to migrate northward.

While it was clear such a free trade pact would be some way off, and well after Juncker steps down in a year’s time, the EU would look to take advantage of African efforts to forge a free trade area within the continent to work toward a comprehensive continent-to-continent free trade agreement.

Reporting by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Leslie Adler

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