Author Archives: Europe correspondent

Mozambique: EU allocates €45M

Brussels 21.04.2022 Today the Council adopted a decision amending the assistance measure for support to the Mozambican Armed Forces under the European Peace Facility (EPF) adopted in November 2021, adding a further amount of €45 million. This additional support brings overall EPF support for Mozambique to €89 million in total.

The assistance measure aims to strengthen EU support for capacity building and the deployment of the units of the Mozambican Armed Forces trained by the EU Training Mission in Mozambique (EUTM Mozambique). This support consists of the provision of integrated packages of equipment and supplies in conjunction with EU training missions. The aim is to ensure that the training is as efficient and effective as possible, enabling EUTM-trained troops to be fully operational and self-sufficient upon deployment.

Through this assistance measure, the EU will finance equipment to benefit the eleven Mozambican companies to be trained by the EUTM, including individual and collective equipment, ground mobility assets, as well as a field hospital.

The European Peace Facility was established in March 2021 to finance all Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) actions in military and defence areas, with the aim of preventing conflict, preserving peace and strengthening international security and stability. In particular, the European Peace Facility allows the EU to finance actions designed to strengthen the capacities of third states and regional and international organisations as regards military and defence matters.

Ethiopia: EU condemns Human Rights violations

Brussels 09.04.2022 “The EU is appalled about the report by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International with regards to the widespread human rights violations and abuses of civilians in the Western part of Tigray.

“An independent UN investigation, complementing the efforts of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, is urgently needed, to establish facts and responsibilities contributing to accountability and justice for victims.

“An International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia was created by the EU led resolution in December 2021. The EU reiterates its calls on the Government to fully cooperate with the Commission so investigations can start immediately. The EU regrets delays in the budgetary discussions in the UN 5th Committee and calls on all partners to engage constructively to ensure the necessary resources for the International Commission, whose goal is to help Ethiopia on the way towards truce and reconciliation.

“The EU condemns in the strongest terms all human rights violations and abuses and violations of international human rights law, and of international humanitarian law, committed in northern Ethiopia since the conflict began on 3 November 2020.

“The EU calls for an immediate halt to all human rights violations and abuses and calls upon all parties to the conflict to facilitate full, safe, rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access ensure that humanitarian relief reaches all civilians in need”.

Burkina-Faco: President Compaore sentenced

Brussels 06.04.2022 Burkina Faso’s former President Blaise Compaore was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment for complicity in the 1987 murder of his predecessor Thomas Sankar a in a coup d’état, a military tribunal ruled on Wednesday, April 6.

Burkina Faso’s former President Blaise Compaoré has received a life sentence in absentia for his role in the assassination of his charismatic predecessor, Thomas Sankara. Sankara, 37, was gunned down along with 12 others during the 1987 coup d’état that brought Compaoré to power.

The pair had been close friends and had jointly seized power in 1983. Sankara remains a hero for many across Africa because of his anti-imperialist stance and austere lifestyle.

After seizing power at the age of just 33, the Marxist revolutionary known by some as “Africa’s Che Guevara”, campaigned against corruption and oversaw huge increases in education and health spending.

EU on Mogadishu attacks

Brussels 25.03.2022 “The European Union stands in solidarity with the Somali people after the recent bomb attacks in Mogadishu and Beledweyne District. These terror attacks on innocent people included the targeting of the international airport and the main hospital where casualties of a previous attack were being brought” reads the statement by the European External Action Sercie Spokesperson on the attacks in Mogadishu and Beledweyne District.

“The European Union offers its heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured. We encourage Somalia’s leaders to increase security and defeat those who use violence against the Somali people”.

“The European Union is a steadfast supporter of Somalia’s state-building process and a partner for peace and security. The European Union recalls its strong support for the imminent and peaceful conclusion of the electoral process to deliver on the aspirations of the Somali people for a stable and prosperous future”.

Mali sanctions suspended

Brussels 25.03.2022 A top court ordered the suspension of sanctions imposed on Mali in January after the junta delayed elections. The court of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) on Thursday, March 24, gave the order against the sanctions.(Image: Assimi Goita,Interim President of Mali)

“The decision was rendered this morning. It is a suspension measure pending a detailed ruling of the court,” spokesperson Aminata Mbodj said. It was not immediately clear whether UEMOA would follow the court decision.

Malian authorities have repeatedly asked for the sanctions to be lifted and filed a legal complaint with the UEMOA court last month, saying they would have severe consequences for the population.

UEMOA in January had instructed all financial institutions under its umbrella to suspend Mali after the junta decided to delay elections intended to restore democratic rule after coups in 2020 and 2021.

The measures were imposed in conjunction with sanctions by the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which froze Malian state assets, closed its borders and suspended non-essential financial transactions.

ECOWAS heads of state are due to meet on Friday in Ghan

EU-AU Summit in Brussels

Brussels 18.02.2022 “The pandemic is of course one of the reasons that so much time has passed since our last meeting. It further reinforces the exceptional dimension that both parties wish to give to this summit. The aim is nothing less than to jointly lay the foundations of a renewed partnership between our two continents, a fresh start that has been in the making for some time now. Growth, shared prosperity and stability are the main objectives of this partnership. Our summit will be based on two fundamental principles”, reads the Joint article by Macky Sall, President of Senegal and Chairperson of the African Union, and Charles Michel, President of the European Council.

Respect and values
“Our two continents and their peoples share geographic proximity, languages, and human and economic ties. The peace and security of our two continents are interdependent. That is why the first fundamental principle must be respect. The future requires us to accept and respect our differences.

“The second fundamental principle is the rights and values of dignity, freedom and solidarity, exercised within the framework of the rule of law and good governance. On this common ground, we can learn from each other every day.

“Finally, our project is based on common interests. At its heart is a prosperous, stable, secure and sustainable Africa which is fully capable of facing all the challenges of the future.

“A partnership for prosperity
A partnership calls for exchange and sharing. Each of our two continents has enormous potential to contribute to this joint project.

“The EU will provide public and private investment capacity, as well as expertise with the green infrastructure and technologies that are vital to our common fight against climate change and to transforming African economies.

“Africa has vast natural resources, a young and dynamic population just waiting to step up, and an impressive capacity for innovation and invention.

“It also needs better access to resources, including through the reallocation of special drawing rights on a voluntary basis, in order to finance its massive economic and social development requirements.

“In the same vein, a debt relief initiative for poor countries should be put in place to support the resilience and recovery efforts of African countries.

“We also call for a fair and just energy transition which takes Africa’s specific needs into account, in particular industrialisation and universal access to electricity. More than 600 million Africans still do not have access to electricity.

“A partnership for stability
Peace and security will also be key priorities for our strengthened partnership. The threats are becoming increasingly transnational and complex. They are a problem for all of us in whatever form they take, including cyberattacks and hybrid attacks.

“We must continue to address these common threats together, including in Africa, and in particular in the fight against terrorism.

“We must continue working together, under the aegis of the African Union and the European Union, to better coordinate our efforts in this joint fight against a common enemy. Addressing this major challenge means beginning with the root causes, instability and radicalisation, in order to reach a long-term solution to the crises and build a real and lasting peace.

“Tested by the pandemic
The pandemic has highlighted our common vulnerabilities, our interdependence, and therefore the need to act together and in concert to tackle it and to better prepare ourselves for possible future health crises. Defeating COVID-19 remains an immediate priority.

“Europe has been working since the outset to organise and fund international solidarity on vaccines, in particular through the COVAX initiative. The EU and its Member States have so far provided almost 400 million doses worldwide, more than 85 % of them through COVAX.

“Having delivered more than 130 million doses to Africa, the EU is one of the continent’s biggest donors. The EU is also stepping up its support for vaccine administration, since the biggest challenge of increased supply will be to put in place vaccination plans.

“Going beyond solidarity on vaccine donation, a challenge that we must face together is the production of vaccines and other medical and pharmaceutical products in Africa to meet the continent’s basic needs. We welcome and support the projects already under way on the continent.

“The key is to take a practical approach: identifying and addressing obstacles and barriers to delivery, storage and administration of vaccines, and, of course, accelerating the development of local vaccine production capacity in Africa, by Africa and for Africa.

“Finally, we are convinced that international solidarity on pandemics and major health crises must be organised in a comprehensive, multi-sectoral and inclusive manner. We proposed and have actively promoted the idea of an international treaty on pandemics. These joint efforts by Europeans and Africans led to the World Health Assembly’s recent decision to open negotiations on a draft treaty, which is expected to be concluded in March 2024.

“An arc of peace
Our world is seeing a growing threat of conflict between blocs. In the face of this disturbing trend, we are convinced that Africa and Europe can work together to bring about a better and safer world for everyone, through dialogue and cooperation with respect for one another.

“It is in that spirit and with those goals that Africans and Europeans are rolling up our sleeves to work towards an exciting common future”.

France troops withdrawal from Mali

Brussels 17.02.2022 Ahead of the EU-Africa Union Summit President Macron announces French troops are withdrawing from Mali and will be stationed in other parts of the African region.
France and its allies in the long-term anti-jihadist operation in Mali have announced a “coordinated withdrawal” of their forces. A joint statement cited “multiple obstructions” by the country’s ruling “military junta”. (Image above: illustration).

Announcing the move during a Thursday news conference in Paris, Macron accused Mali’s ruling military junta of neglecting the fight against Islamic extremists and said it was logical for France to withdraw since its role is not to replace a sovereign state on the battlefield.

“Victory against terror is not possible if it’s not supported by the state itself,” the French leader said.
France has about 4,300 troops in the Sahel region, including 2,400 in Mali. The Barkhane anti-terrorist force is also involved in Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

Macron said the French withdrawal would be done “in an orderly manner” in coordination with the Malian military. France will start by closing military bases in the north of Mali, and the withdrawal will take between four or six months, he said.

Brussels: EU-African Union Summit

Brussels 17.02.2022 The leaders of the EU and the African Union (AU) as well as of their respective member states will meet for the sixth European Union – African Union summit in Brussels on 17 and 18 February 2022.
Ahead of the summit, EU heads of state or government will take part in a one-hour informal meeting of the members of the European Council at 12:30 (BXL time >UTC/GMT +1 hour) on the state of play of latest developments related to Russia and Ukraine.

Informal meeting of the members of the European Council:
The summit will present a unique opportunity to lay the foundations for a renewed and deeper AU-EU partnership with the highest political involvement and based on trust and a clear understanding of mutual interests. Leaders are expected to discuss how both continents can build greater prosperity. The aim is to launch an ambitious Africa-Europe Investment Package, taking into account global challenges such as climate change and the current health crisis. They should also be talking about tools and solutions to promote stability and security through a renewed peace and security architecture.

A series of thematic roundtables will also be organised. The following topics will be debated:

– growth financing
– health systems and vaccine production
– agriculture and sustainable development
– education, culture and vocational training, migration and mobility
– private sector support and economic integration
– peace, security and governance
– climate change and energy transition, digital and transport [connectivity and infrastructure]

EU and AU heads of state or government will be participating in the roundtables, together with a selected group of external guests who are experts in their respective fields.

A joint declaration on a joint vision for 2030 is expected to be adopted by the participants.

Ursula von der Leyen visits Morocco

“Allow me first of all, as a friend of Morocco, to offer my condolences to the parents of little Rayan and, through you, as Head of Government, to all the people of Morocco. The entire world held its breath at the unfolding of this tragedy, in awe at the extraordinary efforts of the rescuers, in tears at its sad conclusion. We are at your side at this difficult time. And this is all the more true as Morocco is a country with which we have built a strong, close and strategic partnership” said the EU president Ursula von der Leyen at the joint press conference with Moroccan Head of Government Akhannouch.

“There are historic links between us. Morocco is the European Union’s leading partner on the African continent in economic and trade matters. But beyond economic links, there are, in particular, personal links. Europeans living in Morocco. Moroccans living in Europe. Our cultures have been influencing one another, enriching one another for centuries. It is with this in mind, that I would like reaffirm our commitment to further deepening those relations – as neighbours, partners and friends.

“And it was clear from our conversation, Mr Akhannouch, that that commitment is shared. So it is by working together that we can build a common and ambitious vision of our partnership. We were able to discuss the many global challenges facing Morocco and Europe. To rise to those challenges, we need to find solutions together, by working together as partners.

“Let me mention our main topics of common interest. We are working to develop a green partnership between Morocco and the European Union – the first one that we are developing with a partner country. This will also enable us to jointly develop greener energy. Likewise, we are working together to strengthen the connectivity of our societies, including through a broad digital partnership. Much can be done to further integrate and adapt our economies. This will benefit our businesses, their employees and all workers.

“In this context, I would like to emphasise how closely we are considering the role of young people and the crucial contribution they make to advancing our societies and how mindful we are of the efforts we need to make to offer them the best possible future. That is why we place so much importance on education and culture in our bilateral cooperation”.

Burundi: EU resumes financial assistance

Brussels 09.02.2022 The Council decided today to repeal its decision taken in 2016, which imposed the suspension of direct financial assistance to the Burundian administration or institutions. With the repeal, the EU will therefore be able to resume this kind of cooperation with the Burundian administration.
(Image above: archive, Ministerial meeting on the crisis in Burundi 8 December 2015).

On February 8 decision to lift restrictions is a result of the peaceful political process that started with the general elections of May 2020 and which has opened a new window of hope for the population of Burundi.

Since the 2020 elections, the EU has acknowledged the progress made by the Burundian government with respect to human rights, good governance and the rule of law, as well as commitments taken in its roadmap (‘feuille de route’) towards further improvements in those areas. Additionally, large numbers of refugees have voluntarily returned to Burundi, and cooperation with the international community and with neighbouring countries has been revitalised.

Persisting challenges remain in the areas of human rights, good governance, reconciliation and the rule of law. Further progress would be beneficial for all Burundians, including through the implementation of the roadmap, in the framework of the ongoing EU-Burundi political dialogue.

The EU, together with other international partners, is ready to support the ongoing efforts of the Burundian authorities to stabilise and consolidate democratic institutions, promote human rights, good governance and the rule of law, and to implement commitments taken in the roadmap towards further improvements in those areas.

Following the deterioration of the situation in Burundi in the run-up to the legislative and presidential elections in June and July 2015, the EU considered that the Republic of Burundi was not in compliance with essential elements set out in Article 9 of the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement in relation to human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

Therefore on 13 November 2015, the Council initiated the procedure that led to the adoption in 2016 of Decision 2016/394 and appropriate measures under Article 96(2)(c) of the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement.

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