During his Wednesday speech in Brussels, the U2 frontman called on President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani to encourage close partnerships with African nations.
“We should sit across the table with our African partners, as equals, and take over the world. That's what I'm here to talk about. That is not only for Africa, it is with Africa. It’s a ‘New Partnership.’ Africans are calling for this New Partnership and president Tajani has been very wise to see this as an opportunity,” the musician told reporters.
He also said he had found home in Europe, that yes he was Irish but also European. “People fear rise of nationalism but I am excited about rise of internationalism.”— Darren McCaffrey (@DarrenEuronews) 10 октября 2018 г.
Bono, who’s the co-founder of ONE, a global campaign against extreme poverty, arrived in Brussels to discuss the European Union’s program in Africa.
“As an artist I think I probably have a role to play in romancing the idea of Europe and seeing it as something warm-blooded. Europe is a thought that needs to become a feeling, and I am, as an artist, in service of that,” Bono said at a briefing after meeting Tajani.
Bono also said that even with the rise of populism, and concerns about migration “I am so excited about what is happening in Africa” said there were great opportunities in our neighbouring continent, a continent full of young people. pic.twitter.com/iwyWcBoYyV— Darren McCaffrey (@DarrenEuronews) 10 октября 2018 г.
His remarks have caused quite a stir on social media, with many users wondering whether he had done anything for migrants, refugees and the poor:
So Bono, how many migrants have you installed in your million euro, big walled, secured house? How many millions of your money have you given to the poor? How many times did you use your private yet, to talk about the climat? How many tax did you not pay? Wel….— Heuf71🇳🇱 (@heufrocks71) 10 октября 2018 г.
Others suggested that he loved the EU because his band had moved part of their business from Ireland to the Netherlands, where the tax rate on royalty earnings is lower for artists:
What a farce. He is so European that his band U2 is a Tax refugee and is now located in the Netherlands. He is like water searching the lowest tax income.— Dharminder Biharie (@BiharieD) 10 октября 2018 г.
Bono really loves Europe.. especially the Netherlands.— †EVIL† (@evildingesss) 10 октября 2018 г.
A fantastic place to evade taxes…just by getting a mailbox in Amsterdam.
"I especially love it because, despite tax breaks in Ireland, I can park my royalties in the Netherlands and pay much less tax. The EU works for me…."— Lee Tee (@thebarrowboy1) 11 октября 2018 г.
Hey Bono if you want to change the world, how about you start paying taxes instead of avoiding them by using a 'shell-company'.— Marloes de Wit (@JustSeeForMe) 11 октября 2018 г.
Other users turned to wordplay in an apparent allusion to U2’s famous chartbuster “With or Without You”:
"With or without EU"…— BritFam Dark Tweeter 17410742 🇬🇧 (@britfam) 11 октября 2018 г.
Bono, we’re leaving.— David G Royal (@DavidGRoyal) 11 октября 2018 г.
With or without you…
Some, mainly MEPs or youth ambassadors for ONE, took to Twitter to praise the Irish singer for his efforts:
Such an incredible moment shared today with Bono founder of @ONECampaign and its Youth Ambassadors @ONEinEU talking about extreme poverty and increasing investments in Africa. 🌍 pic.twitter.com/iEVji7Gq0g— Savvina Sinopidou (@SavvinaSin) 10 октября 2018 г.
Very happy to meet Bono, the cofounder of the @ONECampaign. An endless defender of Europe. A passionate advocate of Africa. And a very committed activist for a strong partnership and alliance between #Europe and #Africa! #AUEU pic.twitter.com/yQW6mwBeFs— Neven Mimica (@MimicaEU) 10 октября 2018 г.
Good discussion with @ONECampaign founder Bono & @EP_President Tajani on rural job creation & sustainable investment in Africa. @EU_Commission is working closely with our African partners to develop new solutions and ideas. Read more here: https://t.co/QRhdMqXxRD 🇪🇺🌍#AUEU pic.twitter.com/Xpe2fhLS7z— Phil Hogan (@PhilHoganEU) 10 октября 2018 г.
The European Union is the best thing that could have happened to us. A community in peace and solidarity. It’s worth fighting for it every day.— Udo Bullmann (@UdoBullmann) 10 октября 2018 г.
Thank you for being with us today, Bono. Thank you for your commitment and dedication to Europe and to a real partnership with Africa! pic.twitter.com/kYmqWGRUgl
In recent months, Bono made world headlines after he greeted Jimmie Åkesson, the leader of the Sweden Democrats, with a Nazi salute, rambling about the rise of popular right-wing parties in Europe.