Author Archives: Europe correspondent

EU sends observers to Zimbabwe elections

Following an invitation by the Zimbabwean authorities, the European Union has deployed an Election Observation Mission (EOM) to Zimbabwe to observe the harmonised elections, scheduled for 30 July 2018. This is a further demonstration of the European Union’s long-term commitment to support credible, transparent and inclusive elections worldwide.

Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, has appointed Elmar Brok, Member of the European Parliament, as Chief Observer of the EU Election Observation Mission to Zimbabwe.

“These elections will be key for the future of Zimbabwe. The future president, parliament and local government councils will have the responsibility of steering the transition process in the country. Zimbabweans can count on the strong support of the European Union and of the international community. Its stability and economic growth are key for the entire region and for the European Union as well. I am confident that the mission under the leadership of Chief Observer Elmar Brok will make an important contribution to this electoral process,” said the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini.

Explosion hits PM Abiy Ahmed rally in Addis Ababa

A blast was heard during a rally in Addis Ababa on June 22,  following a speech by Ethiopia new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, a media reports. Local media claim six people hurt by grenade explosion. In a television address shortly after the incident, Aiby Ahmed said that  “such small incidents will not deter us from the journey of renewal. We will unite and overcome this failed and defeated idea.” Reportedly the culprits, fleeing the scene have been arrested, and are in custody now.

There are no further reports on the consequences of the blast, however some news sources claim it was “small”.

The twitter microblog pictures show a dense crowd of supporters, who came during weekend to give their support to a new Prime Minister. The event took place at a historic Meskel Square of Addis Ababa:

In a televised address shortly after escaping an apparent assassination attempt at a rally organized to support his reform agenda, PM Abiy Ahmed vows “such small incidents will not deter us from the journey of renewal. We will unite and overcome this failed and defeated idea.”

Media  claims six people hurt by the explosion:

EU ready to assist Ethiopia-Eritrea negotiations

“The recent announcement by Ethiopia that it is ready to fully implement the Algiers Agreement and the decision of the boundary commission, as well as the decision by the President of Eritrea to send a delegation to Addis Ababa to that end, are decisive steps towards the resolution of the longstanding differences between the two countries” – the statement of the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini says.

“The settlement on the border issue would benefit Ethiopia and Eritrea as well as stability in the Horn of Africa region”.

“In line with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission’s statement, the EU also stands ready – as a witness to the Algiers Peace Agreement – to assist Ethiopia and Eritrea on their path towards reconciliation”.

South Sudan President to negotiate peace in Addis Ababa

South Sudan President Salva Kiir will meet his opponent Riek Machar in Addis Ababa on June 20 to  negotiate an end to a five-year-old civil war, Ethiopia’s foreign ministry said.

“The meeting on South Sudan tomorrow will be held under the auspices of (Ethiopian) Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed with the aim of bridging gaps between President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar,” the ministry statement said.

EU allocates €68 million to Sudan and S.Sudan

This week the European Commission has announced  €68 million in humanitarian assistance for vulnerable communities in Sudan and South Sudan.

The funding comes as millions of people across both countries are in need of assistance, with the conflict in South Sudan triggering an influx of refugees into neighbouring Sudan.

“The EU is stepping up its support as many people in Sudan and South Sudan face massive humanitarian needs. Our aid will provide essential supplies such as food and healthcare and allow our partners to continue their life saving work on the ground. Above all, it is crucial that humanitarian workers can deliver aid safely so they can help those most in need. Aid workers are not a target” – said Commissioner or Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.

In South Sudan, €45 million will primarily target internally displaced persons and host communities, providing emergency food assistance, health, nutrition, shelter, water and sanitation as well as protection from gender based violence. Funding will also support measures to protect aid workers.

 

In Sudan, €23 million will ensure protection of displaced communities, treatment of undernutrition in the most affected areas, as well as food assistance and improved access to basic services such as health, shelter, water and sanitation.

To date, the Commission has mobilised more than €412 million in humanitarian aid for South Sudan since fighting erupted in December 2013. Since 2011, the EU has provided almost €450 million in humanitarian aid in Sudan for those affected by conflict, natural disasters, food insecurity and malnutrition in the country.

 

Salvini offers Spain to host more migrants from Italy

Italy Interior Minister Matteo Salvini articulated that his country is “no longer the doormat of Europe”, while commenting on repelled migrants transported to Italy from Libyan coast by Aquarius NGO vessel, and the proposal of Spain to host them.  Salvini also said that Spain can also host  “another 66,000” migrants who stay in Italy now.

“Finally the Germans, the French, the Belgians, the Dutch and even the Spanish are listening to us,” Salvini underlined. The minister said he would seek to increase deportations of migrants whose asylum requests are rejected and work on a plan for Africa featuring development interventions to reduce migrant flows.

Reportedly Salvini demanded the Netherlands to recall Dutch-flagged ‘rescue’ ships of open borders NGOs, like Aquarius, insisting Italy refuses to be complicit in “illegal immigration business”.

EU asylum reform imminent

According to French President Emmanuel Macron, the EU lacks solidarity and efficiency concerning migration. He underlined that the European borders must have better protection, whereas the mechanism of granting asylum must be unified. French president further pointed out that Europe’s response to migration crisis was outdated and reform was needed.

The meeting between the new Italian Prime minister Giuseppe Conte and the French president was jeopardized by a war of words following Rome’s decision to repel vessel #Aquarius carrying some 600 illegal migrants rescued in the Mediterranean.

During the press conference after the meeting with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, French President Emmanuel Macron noted that talks of “axis” countries on migration are a reminder of “Europe’s unfortunate past history,” referring to the earlier remarks of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz that German, Austrian and Italian interior ministers form “axis” against illegal immigration.

As a possibility Macron and Conte offered to establish asylum processing centres in Africa, to prevent people risking their lives when crossing Mediterranean.

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