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"Imagine if we showed that with 1.5 billion people and 80 countries - almost half the UN membership - we can make a real impact, both regionally and as global partners," European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told the summit of the European and African Unions in Lisbon Saturday.
The two continents should create a "genuine partnership of solidarity and mutual respect which defends the priorities of Africa and its specific interests" in global issues, Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak told the 26 European and 53 African leaders.
The EU-AU summit - the first in seven years and only the second in history - has been hailed by both sides as a chance to launch a "new relationship" between the continents.
And one key aim of that relationship, according to the agreement jointly drawn up by representatives of the two organisations, is to develop "common responses to global challenges" in international fora - including the UN.
"The EU and AU together represent 80 countries. Eighty votes at the UN is a very big power bloc, so there's no doubt that more comprehensive cooperation could be mutually beneficial," John Kotsopoulos, an Africa expert at the Brussels-based European Policy Centre, told DPA.