U2 frontman Bono urged the European Union today (June 9) to step up efforts to support the disadvantaged in Africa.

U2 frontman Bono urged the European Union today (June 9) to step up efforts to support the disadvantaged in Africa.

Speaking in Brussels after meeting European Commission president José Manuel Barroso, Bono said the EU was facing a crisis of confidence because its citizens did not share the ideas promoted by political leaders.

He said Africa "offers us a chance to re-describe ourselves, our value systems," and he urged leaders to make a tangible difference to the needy.

Bono said Brussels' crisis about its planned European Constitution -- rejected in recent referendums in France and the Netherlands -- was of little consequence compared to the tens of thousands of avoidable deaths every day in Africa. This failure to act, he said, disillusioned people and distanced them from their leaders. "If we allow this, then we do hold no sway," he said.

Although the global Live 8 concerts on July 2 will raise awareness of African poverty, Bono urged the leaders of the EU's 25 members to do more than just pay lip service to the issue. "We have to create a sense of momentum, of occasion," he said. "There is a long way from politicians signing checks to cashing them. I'm in the check business."

Barroso welcomed Bono's efforts to raise the profile of debt and aid, and to mobilize political leaders. Despite Europe's own heavy and complex agenda, Barroso says Africa would not fall behind in Europe's political landscape.

U2 will perform at the Hyde Park, London leg of the Live 8 event.