Category Archives: EU-Africa

EU towards “new partnership” with Africa

‘To speak of the future, one must speak of Africa – Europe’s twin continent.
Africa is the future: By 2050, Africa’s population will number 2.5 billion. One in four people on earth will be African” – said Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission in his 2018 State of Union speech.

“We need to invest more in our relationship with the nations of this great and noble continent. And we have to stop seeing this relationship through the sole prism of development aid. Such an approach is beyond inadequate, humiliatingly so.
Africa does not need charity, it needs true and fair partnerships. And Europe needs this partnership just as much.
“In preparing my speech today, I spoke to my African friends, notably Paul Kagame, the Chairperson of the African Union. We agreed that donor-recipient relations are a thing of the past. We agreed that reciprocal commitments are the way forward. We want to build a new partnership with Africa.

“Today, we are proposing a new Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs between Europe and Africa. This Alliance – as we envision it – would help create up to 10 million jobs in Africa in the next 5 years alone. We want to create a framework that brings more private investment to Africa. We are not starting from scratch: our External Investment Plan, launched two years ago, will mobilise over €44 billion in both the public and private investment. Alone the projects already in the pipeline will unlock €24 billion.
We want to focus our investment where it matters the most. By 2020, the EU will have supported 35,000 African students and researchers with our Erasmus programme. By 2027, this figure should reach 105,000.

“Trade between Africa and Europe is not insignificant. 36% of Africa’s trade is with the European Union. This compares to 16% for China and 6% for the United States. But this is not enough. I believe we should develop the numerous European-African trade agreements into a continent-to continent free trade agreement, as an economic partnership between equals”.

EU and Germany help Niger to cope with migrant flows

The European Union, through the EU Trust Fund for Africa, and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) co-finance a project in Niger which helps local authorities identify development and infrastructure measures and strengthen their capacity to better address the consequences of migration. More than 150 000 people will benefit from better access to basic services which will also create 1 500 jobs.

Launched in 2017, with a budget of EUR 28.5 million, the project “Programme: Améliorer la gestion des défis migratoires” (ProGEM) has been cooperating with 20 local authorities along the main migratory routes.

The city of Agadez is a transit route for passing migrants and hosts at the same time young Nigeriens who are looking for a job as well as returning migrants from countries such as Algeria or Libya. More than 300,000 people pass through Agadez every year.

There are considerable social, economic and administrative challenges. According to the vice-president of Agadez Regional Council, Aklou Sidi Sidi, “the demand for water, medical care, education and sanitation is high and continuing to rise. This is one of the main consequences of the migration we are faced with here in Agadez, in the north of the country”. Unemployment drives young Nigeriens to migrate or get involved in smuggling activities. “The key is economic development and job creation in our towns”, Mr Aklou stresses.

“ProGEM is always there to help. It helps us develop our own expertise and draw up and implement appropriate measures, both social and in terms of infrastructure”, says Mr Alhousseini Hamodi, the mayor of Tchintabaraden district.

Thanks to ProGEM the municipality could identify the most affected areas. And the project is currently building and extending 10 healthcare centres and hospitals, 10 drinking water supply systems and standpipe networks, 5 markets and commercial infrastructures, 15 toilet blocks and 11 classrooms in the regions of Agadez, Tahoua and Zinder.

EU extends training mission in Central African Republic

On 30 July 2018, the Council extended the mandate of the EU military training mission in the Central African Republic (EUTM RCA) by two years, i.e. until 19 September 2020. The Council also modified the mandate of the mission to enable it to give strategic advice not only to the Ministry of Defence, military staff and the armed forces, but also to the President’s cabinet, and to allow it to provide advice on civil-military cooperation, including to the Ministry of the Interior and the gendarmerie. The Council has allocated a budget of around €25.4 million for the common costs of EUTM RCA for the period 20 September 2018 to 19 September 2020.

The Council launched EUTM RCA on 16 July 2016 as a follow-up to an EU military advisory mission (EUMAM RCA). The mission contributes to security sector reform in the country. It works towards modernised, effective, inclusive and democratically accountable Central African Armed Forces (FACA). It provides strategic advice to the Central African Republic’s Ministry of Defence and the General Staff, and gives courses to officers and non-commissioned officers, as well as training to FACA units. The mission is based in Bangui.

EU extended mandate to NAVFOR Somalia operation

EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation Atalanta: Council prolongs the Operation and decides on new headquarters and new Operation Commander.

The Council today extended the mandate of EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation Atalanta until 31 December 2020. The Council also decided to relocate the European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Operational Headquarters from Northwood (UK) to Rota (Spain), and to Brest (France) for the Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) as of 29 March 2019. It appointed Vice Admiral Antonio Martorell Lacavefrom the Spanish Navy as new Operation Commander to take command from Major General Charlie Stickland on the same date. The relocation and change in command are required due to the UK’s decision to withdraw from the EU.

Today’s decision also allocated a budget of €11.777 million for the common costs of the operation for the period 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2020.

EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta contributes to the deterrence, prevention and repression of acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast. The operation is part of the EU’s comprehensive approach for a peaceful, stable and democratic Somalia.

The operation also protects vessels of the World Food Programme and other vulnerable shipping, monitors fishing activities off the coast of Somalia and supports other EU missions and programmes in the region.

Illegal migrants storm fences in Spain

A several hundreds of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa entered Spain after storming a double barrier between Morocco and the Spanish territory of Ceuta, with some attacking security forces with quicklime, police reported.

The scramble over the barrier is the biggest in Ceuta since February 2017, when more than 850 migrants entered the overseas territory over four days. Today around 600 illegals migrantes participated in breaking into Spanish territory.

At present Spain becomes the number one destination for illegal migrants crossing the Mediterranean by boat, surpassing Italy with 19,586 arrivals so far this year, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

A spokesman for the Guardia Civil police force in #Ceuta told AFP the migrants managed to climb over the double barrier, which is covered in small blades, early on Thursday morning, June 26.

They scrambled over “all of a sudden, with much violence,” and some attacked police with quicklime they had in tubes and bottles.

As a result, “more than a dozen police” were injured, four of whom had to go to hospital for burns in the face and arms.

“There is no possible justification for an organized, illegal, massive and violent assault on a border like today’s : 600 young and strong men have wounded viciously and used quicklime against  22 agents. All my support and admiration for the Guardia Civil” – wrote in her Twitter microblog Beatriz Becerra, MEP, vice-chair of the Subcommittee of Human rights of the European Parliament.

Spanish citizens are waiting for the reaction of government on this outbreak of violence.

AMENDMENT: Spanish newspaper El Pais reports total more than “800 illegal migrants from sub-Sanitarian Africa without documents” early morning hours stormed the border between Ceuta and Marocco.

 

Tajani: “We can’t stop migration”

“Until 2016, 90% of irregular migrants travelled through the Niger to Libya and Europe. In just 2 years, Niger reduced migration flows by 95%, from over 300,000 to about 10,000 in 2018. We need to support this model and extend it to other Sahel countries following the example with Turkey, where we committed 6 billion euros to close the so-called ‘Balkan route’, ” declared European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, at the end of his official visit to Niamey in Niger where he headed a mission of entrepreneurs, researchers, and representatives of international organisations.

“Together with effective control of external borders, the migration crisis must be tackled at source, with investments and economic partnerships triggering economic development and opportunities for young Africans. I am convinced that the mission of economic and technological diplomacy that accompanied me here is a first step to attracting European investment and technology transfers to Niger, “ added Tajani.

President Tajani also underlined the need for a common and strategic European approach to relations with African countries and in particular those in the Sahel region (in addition to Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania and Chad): “Irregular migration and Africa’s growth require a European-level strategy. Any solution taken at national level ends up being temporary, isolated and ineffective. We need a medium to long term vision, with a real ‘Marshall Plan’ capable of mobilizing large-scale public and private investments in the African continent. In this sense, the collaboration with Niger has been extraordinary and represents a model for many other African countries “.

The President of the European Parliament also visited a refugee reception center run by the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) attended by persons evacuated to Niger from Libya. At the center, Tajani expressed his commitment to strengthen the fight against the traffickers who perpetrate unspeakable violence and torture to men, women and children: “These young Somali and Eritrean women refugees told me about the horrible violence they suffered in the Libyan camps. They have been saved thanks to the work of UNHCR and the EU. Their agony drives us to up the fight against the traffickers”.

President Tajani was received in Niamey by the President of Niger Mahamadou Issoufou, the President of the Nigerian National Assembly Ousseini Tini, and Prime Minister Brigi Rafini. Tajani had meetings and talks with the Presidents of the National Assemblies of the G5 Sahel countries and with the Secretary General of the Community of the 29 States of Sahel and Sahara (CEN-SAD), Ibrahim Sani Abani.

Tajani also stressed the importance of starting a process of democratization in Libya with the aim of stabilizing the entire region: “Apart from Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali and Mauritania are also our key partners to reach a solution to the Libyan crisis. Consequently, I invited representatives from these countries to participate in the conference in support of the organization of democratic elections in Libya that the European Parliament will organize in Brussels on 10 October, ” Tajani announced.

During his visit, the President of the European Parliament also undertook to strengthen the Erasmus + programme for Nigerian students and to conduct further joint initiatives in the strategic sectors of renewable energy, agriculture, water management and digital.

 

Mogherini inaugurates EU premises in Tripoli

EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini visited Libya today to inaugurate the premises of the European Union Delegation to Libya and the EU Border Assistance Mission in Tripoli, and in view of the Foreign Affairs Council on Monday where the situation in Libya is on the agenda.

In Libya, the European Union is the main humanitarian aid provider, the main supporter of the UN agencies’ programmes, the main bilateral cooperation donor as well as the first economic partner. The return of the diplomatic presence of the EU in Libya will further strengthen the cooperation with the government, the local authorities and the United Nations, and the implementation of projects on the ground.

During her visit, Federica Mogherini met with ChairmanFayez Sarraj, accompanied by the Foreign Minister Siala, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Ghassan Salamé, representatives of UN agencies – IOM, UNHCR, UNDP, UNICEF – and some of the beneficiaries of EU financed projects.

In her meetings, Mogherini discussed the EU’s support to the country and the most effective ways to further strengthen it. She also addressed the most recent developments in Libya,  including in the Oil Crescent. High Representative Mogherini restated the European Union’s support for the Libyan political process, in the framework provided by the United Nations, including preparations for elections. She stressed the need to prepare elections on a solid legal and constitutional basis, and the need that the results are accepted by all.  Mogherini discussed during the meetings the support the EU is already providing for the preparation of elections and the additional assistance it is ready to mobilise to accompany this process.

On top of its political support to Libya, the European Union is the main provider of assistance to improve the lives of Libyan citizens and help them to rebuild their country politically, socially and economically. During the meetings, new initiatives in the areas of health, education, media, youth, support to municipalities, governance and security were discussed.

The close cooperation of the EU with the Libyan authorities and the United Nations agencies – namely the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and International Organisation for Migration (IOM) –  has allowed for assistance and protection to refugees, migrants and internally displaced people in the country, to save lives at sea and assist thousands of people to voluntarily return to their countries, while fighting against the trafficking of human beings. Federica Mogherini discussed with Prime Minister Sarraj the EU’s training of the Libyan coast guard through Operation Sophia, and the cooperation through EUBAM in supporting the authorities to manage the land borders, particularly in the South, also in the framework of regional initiatives.

They also discussed the successful work done by the Task Force established by the European Union, the African Union and the UN at the EU-African Union summit in Abidjan last November, that has led to assisted voluntary return of 20.000 irregular migrants from Libya to their countries of origin.

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