Author Archives: Europe correspondent

Somalia at “critical political juncture”

“The attacks in Somalia’s capital mark one of the worst the city has suffered in over a decade, leading to a large number of casualties and injuries to innocent civilians” – says the text of the statement by the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini on the attacks in Mogadishu, Somalia.

“We offer our deepest condolences to the families of the victims and wish a full recovery to those injured in the attacks.”

“At this critical political juncture in the history of Somalia, the European Union reaffirms its long term commitment to the country and its people. It will be crucial that the government remains united to defeat terrorism and strengthen security. The achievements of past years, which the international community has supported, must continue.”

“The Federal Government of Somalia and its Federal Member States must enhance their joint efforts to fight terrorism and to build peace, stability, prosperity and inclusivity in the country.”

ACP meeting in Brussels

Members of Parliaments from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific gathered in Brussels this week for the 47th session of the ACP Parliamentary Assembly, and a joint intersessional meetings with Members of the European Parliament.
With a limited time before the start of the negotiations for a new partnership framework between the 79 members of the ACP Group of States and the European Union.
One of the key issues of concern for the ACP is the state of preparations, including the shared principles and rationales that would guide the process.
“Negotiations for [a new ACP-EU partnership] are so important that all voices of the ACP Group need to be heard, including parliamentarians, civil society, etc. The ACP we want, must be people-driven… because the issues touch on the ordinary lives of all ACP citizens,” emphasised the President of the ACP Parliamentary Assembly, Hon. Ibrahim Rassin Bundu, MP of Sierra Leone.
During an exchange of views with Brussels-based Ambassadors, the Secretary-General H.E. Dr. Patrick I. Gomes noted the call from representatives for a “radical departure” from the traditional relationship, marked by an “imbalance” between the two blocs of countries in terms of economic might and levels of technology and capacity.
Members urged consolidated efforts to achieve a level of sustainable development whereby ACP developing countries are able to progress from being dependent exporters of raw materials, to being able to add value to their own products.
“The underpinnings of the entire process for a post-Cotonou Agreement rests on the fundamental aim of achieving the structural transformation of ACP economies,” said Dr. Gomes, referring to the current ACP-EU partnership framework known as the “Cotonou Agreement” – a comprehensive and legally binding treaty that governs trade, development cooperation and political dialogue between EU and ACP countries. The agreement was signed in 2000 in Cotonou, Benin, for a period of 20 years.

€200 million loan to Tunisia

The European Commission, on behalf of the EU, has today approved the disbursement of a €200 million loan to Tunisia.

This disbursement marks the launch of the second Macro-Financial Assistance (MFA-II) programme to Tunisia. A total of €500 million will be disbursed in three instalments in 2017 and 2018.

“Today’s disbursement to Tunisia is proof of our strong commitment to support the successful economic recovery of one of our closest neighbours. With a renewed sense of urgency, Tunisia has reaffirmed its dedication to an effective partnership. The EU stands firmly with Tunisia in achieving prosperity for all of its people” –Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said.

The second Macro-Financial Assistance programme was proposed following the terrorist attacks of 2015, which contributed to halting Tunisia’s economic recovery. This had a significant impact on the country’s balance of payments position and financing needs. The programme was agreed by the Council and the European Parliament on 6 July 2016.

The second and third instalments of the MFA-II (amounting to €150 million each) will be tied to the implementation of a number of policy conditions targeting fiscal consolidation as well as the improvement of Tunisia’s social assistance schemes and business climate.

The EU’s strategy of assistance to Tunisia also includes budget support programmes under the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI), of which Tunisia is a major recipient among the Southern Neighbourhood countries, and substantial loans from the European Investment Bank.

Easing of US sanction on Sudan

The easing of US sanctions on Sudan is an important step in Sudan’s efforts at reintegration into the international community. The EU expects Sudan to make further progress in addressing the several challenges that still remain.

In this regard, the EU encourages the Government of Sudan to progress further towards peace and reconciliation in Sudan. This includes the strengthening of the democratization process and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as the commitment to genuine political and economic reforms, addressing the root causes of conflict in Darfur and the Two Areas. Further efforts at respecting international humanitarian law and providing safe, timely and unhindered humanitarian access to people in need remain also essential.

The EU is ready to accompany Sudan in this process, in particular towards free and credible elections and an inclusive constitutional review, in line with the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) roadmap led by President Mbeki, which the EU supports.

Continued cooperation in support of stability in the region remains critical.

EU calls Cameroon to act with restraint

Tensions in North-Western and South-Western Cameroon have risen over recent weeks, with a risk of further escalation.

“All the stakeholders need to act responsibly and with restraint, abiding by the rule of law, and to abstain from any acts of violence” –  says a statement of the spokesperson of the EU External Action Service on the situation in Western Cameroon.

The EU encourages the Cameroonian authorities to pursue their efforts to bring about sustainable solutions in response to the concerns of the Anglophone citizens.

Only an open and inclusive dialogue can lead to a solution which is in the interest of all Cameroonians while respecting the unity and integrity of the country.

 

Mali: EU considers individual sanctions

The Council has transposed into legal acts the provisions of United Nations Security Council resolution 2374 (2017), which allows sanctions to be imposed on those actively stymieing progress in implementing the agreement on peace and reconciliation in Mali, signed in 2015.

The targeted individuals and entities will be designated, where appropriate, by the United Nations Security Council or Sanctions Committee as being responsible for or complicit in actions or policies that threaten the peace, security or stability of Mali.

In particular, that may cover engaging in hostilities in violation of the agreement on peace and reconciliation in Mali or in attacks against the Malian institutions and security and defence forces as well as against international presences, including United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission (MINUSMA) peacekeepers, the Group of Five for the Sahel (G5 Sahel) joint force, European Union missions and French forces.

It also includes obstructing the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Mali, engaging in human rights abuses, and the use or recruitment of children by armed groups or armed forces in the context of the conflict in Mali.

Sanctions against designated parties will include restrictions on admission of targeted individuals (ban on entry to the European Union) and the freezing of assets in the EU belonging to the targeted individuals or entities, in addition to prohibiting persons or entities established within the EU from making funds available to them.

The provisions can be found in full in the legal acts which will be published in the Official Journal on 29 September 2017. The legal acts were adopted by written procedure.

Europe stands by Angola in reforms

“As President of Angola João Lourenço officially takes office today in Angola, I look forward to co-operating with him and the new government to strengthen further our relationship and intensify our existing dialogue,” – announced EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini in her statement.

“The general elections’ process,  leading to a peaceful political transition, was a clear sign of Angolan people’s commitment to democracy”, – Mogherini continued.

“The European Union stands ready to support future electoral processes, including in ensuring equal access and treatment in media and the reform of the electoral legislation in line with international principles of inclusiveness and transparency,” – EU diplomat ensures.

“The EU will continue to support all efforts to build strong, democratic, and inclusive institutions that are dedicated to ensuring a peaceful and prosperous future for all Angolans, and to responding effectively to evolving regional and global challenges.”

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