Category Archives: EU-Africa

UN: Borrell encounters Mali diplomat

Brussels 26.09.2021 The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the European Commission Josep Borrell met Thursday, Septembre 23, with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Transitional Government of Mali Abdoulaye Diop in New-York, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

During this exchange, the EU top diplomat relayed the serious concerns of the European Union in the face of the continued deterioration of the political, social, humanitarian and security context in Mali.

Borrell reaffirmed the European Union’s full support for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and in particular to his press release of September 16, which insists on respect for 18 months of the Transition and the organisation of the elections in February 2022. A shift would only worsen the crisis of confidence between the institutions and the population. The need to move forward on some key reforms was also discussed.

The European diplomat also made it clear that a possible intervention by the paramilitary company Wagner in Mali, whose proven abuses in other countries are no longer to be demonstrated, would have immediate consequences on cooperation between the European Union and the Transitional Government.

As an important partner of Mali, alongside its partners in the G5 Sahel and the Coalition for the Sahel, the European Union will remain committed, but it also owes itself to a language of truth when the situation requires it.

MOZAMBIQUE: EU training mission

Brussels 12.07.2021 “…Talking about defence and security issues, today we formally established, in a record time, the new European Training Mission for Mozambique. This is the second Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) mission that is being created during my mandate” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said during the press-conference in Brussels, concluding the Foreign Ministers Council.

“It has been done in a record time, in European terms ‘record time’ does not mean very quickly, but it has been done quicker than in any other mission.

“The new mission will be a fundamental part of our response to the government of Mozambique’s request to address the crisis in Cabo Delgado, in the northern part of the country, and to contribute to reinforce and re-establish security.

“This mission will train selected Mozambican units to help the armed forces in their efforts to bring back safety and security. This commitment now needs to be properly resourced and accompanied by the adequate assistance measures. So, I have been asking the Member States, once the mission has been agreed, to bring, to provide the means, the staff that this mission will require. It is not going to be a big mission, like the one that we have in Mali, but it is important that the people who will go to Mozambique to train Mozambican units will be highly qualified military elements”.

EU: Ethiopia elections ahead

Brussels 18.06.2021 Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union:
“On June 21, a majority of Ethiopian voters will be invited to participate in elections. Some constituencies will vote at a later stage, in part due to security and logistical challenges. The European Union (EU) takes note of this important step and recalls the fundamental democratic right of all Ethiopian citizens to be able to vote, everywhere in the country” reads the Declaration by the EU High Representative Josep Borrell on behalf of the European Union. (Image: illustration).

“Aware of the importance of these elections for the political transition in Ethiopia, the EU has supported the electoral process and the work of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE). The EU commends the efforts deployed by NEBE personnel around the country, and welcomes the public commitment of the Ethiopian government to hold democratic and peaceful elections. Yet, the EU regrets the impossibility of sending an election observation mission.

“Ethiopia remains in a complex domestic situation. Concerned with ongoing violence across the country, human rights violations and political tensions, harassment of media workers and detained opposition members, the EU calls upon the government and local and regional authorities to ensure a transparent and safe process, to guarantee the free and equal participation of all political parties and candidates who are running, to facilitate the participation of all citizens, to ensure freedom of the press and of expression as well as the safety of journalists, other media workers and election observers and to provide full logistical and administrative support to NEBE. The EU also calls on all actors to refrain from spreading hate speech and from calling for acts of violence.

“The elections could be an important step in Ethiopia’s democratic process. The EU also recalls the importance to engage in and foster a comprehensive, inclusive and transparent national dialogue with the participation of women and youth and all relevant stakeholders, including civil society organisations, political parties and regional authorities, in order to strengthen democracy and to support conflicts resolution as well as reconciliation. The EU will stand by Ethiopia in the implementation of democratic reforms as well as reconciliation efforts that would emerge from an inclusive and transparent dialogue”.

EU focus on Tigray situation

Brussels 10.06.2021 “On the eve of the G7, the European Commission and the USAID join forces to open eyes of the world on the unacceptable situation in Tigray. To the people of Tigray we say: You are not alone. To the parties involved in the conflict we say: The world is watching. You will be held accountable” Josep Borrell, the EU top diplomat wrote on his Twitter micro blog.

An analysis by United Nations agencies and aid groups estimates that about 350,000 people in Ethiopia’s conflict-torn Tigray region are in famine conditions, according to an internal U.N.

The UN report also points to grave abuses of human rights committed by Ethiopian and Eritrean troops in Tigray, including the looting of Saint Mary’s Hospital and Aksum University Referral Hospital.

The report says the Eritrean military has committed “deliberate attacks against civilians and summary executions, indiscriminate attacks, sexual and gender-based violence, arbitrary detention, destruction and looting of civilian property and displacement and abduction of Eritrean refugees and asylum seekers”.

The report makes recommendations to the Eritrean government that includes providing information on the presence of its troops in Tigray and answering the allegations of human rights abuses.

It asks Asmara “to ensure that protective measures are taken in areas under its effective territorial control to ensure respect for international humanitarian law and international human rights law by Eritrean troops present in Tigray”.

The fighting in Tigray began eight months ago when Ethiopian and Eritrean troops alongside allied militias began an offensive against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.

The conflict has displaced about two million civilians and left 5.2 million in urgent need, the US said.

Human rights organisations including Doctors Without Borders and Amnesty International have documented incidents of sexual violence, extrajudicial killings and massacres in Tigray.

David Beasley, executive director of the UN World Food Programme, said on Tuesday that “time is running out” and called on all parties to allow free humanitarian access to the region to avert a catastrophe.

EU observation mission to Zambia

Brussels 13.05.2021 As campaigning begins ahead of general elections on 12 August, the European Union reiterates the importance of its relationship with Zambia, which has been – since independence – a source of stability, humanitarian solidarity and regional leadership in southern Africa. The European Union welcomes the invitation by the Government of the Republic of Zambia to deploy an electoral observation mission in Zambia. We encourage and support credible, inclusive, transparent and peaceful elections. (Image above: European Parliament, Strasbourg, France).

Zambia has the opportunity to set a positive example in ensuring a level playing field for candidates, guaranteeing respect for freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. This includes ensuring a safe and calm atmosphere free from intimidation and violence, in which all citizens can participate fully in the democratic process as foreseen by the constitution. All stakeholders have their respective roles to play in achieving these conditions.

In this spirit, the European Union recalls the common values it shares with Zambia – freedom, democracy, the Rule of Law and the promotion and protection of human rights.

EU €210M budget for Sahel

Brussels 11.05.2021 The EU is reaffirming its solidarity with vulnerable people in countries in the Sahel and Central Africa through a humanitarian budget of €210 million in 2021. The funding will be allocated to humanitarian projects in the following eight countries: Burkina Faso (€24.3 million), Cameroon (€17.5 million), the Central African Republic (€21.5 million), Chad (€35.5 million) Mali (€31.9 million), Mauritania (€10 million), Niger (€32.3 million) and Nigeria (€37 million).

“Worsening instability and armed conflicts, together with the COVID-19 pandemic and natural hazards, are having a devastating impact in the Sahel and countries in Central Africa. The EU remains committed to help reduce suffering among people in need in the region. While humanitarian aid is there to bring emergency relief, longer-lasting improvements can only be brought about through the political will of national governments and good governance” Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, said.

The EU’s humanitarian funding in the Sahel and Central Africa countries is targeted to:

provide life-saving assistance to the people affected by conflict and to the communities hosting people who had to flee;
provide protection to vulnerable people and support the respect of International Humanitarian Law and the humanitarian principles;
support measures to address food crises and severe acute malnutrition among children under 5;
enhance the immediate response in terms of basic services to most vulnerable population, especially as concerns health care for all or education for children caught up in humanitarian crises; and
strengthen fragile communities’ preparedness for crises, such as mass displacements of people, or recurrent food or climate-related crises.
This assistance is part of the wider EU support provided to the region, including through the ´Team Europe´ contributions to the Coronavirus Global Response, support to the vaccine distribution effort through the COVAX Facility, and other actions providing longer-term support to strengthen fragile health systems.

As part of the EU’s Coronavirus Global Response and its target to make COVID-19 vaccines a global public good, Team Europe provided €2.2 billion to the COVAX Facility. The COVAX Facility is supporting the delivery of 1.3 billion doses of vaccines to 92 low and middle-income countries by the end of 2021 and has recently decided that up to 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be made available for use in humanitarian contexts.

In addition, the European Commission is providing €100 million in humanitarian assistance to support the rollout of vaccination campaigns in countries in Africa with critical humanitarian needs and fragile health systems.

The EU is a leading, long-standing humanitarian donor in the Sahel and Central Africa, one of the world’s poorest and most fragile regions. In 2020, the EU supported humanitarian interventions in the region with more than €213 million. More than 19 million people in need benefitted from EU-funded humanitarian operations initiated in 2020 in West and Central Africa, including around 6.3 million people who were provided with food security and livelihood support, more than 3 million people assisted on disaster preparedness and risk reduction, around 2.8 million people offered access to health services, and almost 1.8 million people receiving protection support.

In order to support longer-term achievements, the EU is working to build effective synergies between humanitarian, development and peace initiatives. The life of many in the Sahel and Central Africa countries continues to be disrupted by conflict, poverty, climatic changes, recurrent food crises, or a combination of all. It is estimated that there are more than 35 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in the eight priority countries covered by the EU’s 2021 Humanitarian Implementation Plan for West and Central Africa. The major humanitarian needs relate to shelter, emergency food aid, access to health care and clean water, treatment for malnourished children, and protection for the vulnerable.

Against this backdrop, the coronavirus pandemic is posing additional challenges, both as concerns the pressure on already fragile health systems but also the effects of the containment measures on vulnerable people’s access to food and livelihoods.

At the same time, humanitarian actors are facing the combined challenges of delivering humanitarian assistance in an increasingly insecure context, where access is further restricted due to the pandemic.

EU reinforces Horn of Africa ties

Brussels 10.05.2021 The Council today approved conclusions affirming the EU’s commitment to give new impetus to its partnership with the Horn of Africa, and establishing a new strategy for the region.

A geo-strategic priority for the EU in Africa, the Horn of Africa region has undergone unprecedented developments over the last years and is now at a crossroads.

With this new strategy, EU’s intention is to further strengthen and deepen its strategic relationship and partnership with the Horn of Africa and its countries, notably with a view to reduce instability, promote democracy and sustainable growth.

The strategy will aim at reinforcing a joint approach to democracy and regional peace and security, revitalising multilateralism and the rules-based international order, strengthening commitment to social and human development, boosting post-COVID socio-economic recovery and trade and regional integration. The strategy also aims at strengthening the partnership with the broader region notably the Red Sea, the Western Indian Ocean and the Nile.

The cornerstones of the EU’s engagement will be mutual accountability, whereby there is a common understanding of each partner’s responsibilities, priorities and concrete objectives, and a Team Europe approach, which has shown that through collective action the EU is a solid partner of the region.

Borrell: Sahel pivotal moment

Brussels 25.04.2021 “The security situation remains very worrying in the Sahel. One figure is enough to illustrate this point: in central Mali, there are two serious security incidents every day involving deaths and / or injuries. How to improve this situation that no European state would tolerate? How to sustainably consolidate military gains? Via a “civil and political burst” as decided at the G5 and Sahel Coalition Summit held in N’Djamena last February” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell wrote in his blog.

“In the fight against instability in the Sahel, it is not enough to reconquer territories by force. The challenge is above all to regain the confidence of the populations. They want to see school teachers, doctors, judges . As much, if not more, than the military. ”
“In the fight against instability in the Sahel, it is not enough to reconquer territories by force. The challenge is above all to regain the confidence of the populations: they expect an exemplary State and access to basic services that respect human rights. They hope for the return of the state, everywhere and for all. They want to see school teachers, doctors, judges. As much, if not more, than the military. It was a central subject of the mission which took me in recent days to Mauritania, then to Chad and Mali.
“The Sahel is one of the regions of the world where the Union and its member states are most committed to peace, stability and development.”
“As already expressed on this blog several times (see here and there), the Sahel is one of the regions of the world where the Union and its member states are most committed to peace, stability and development. Between 2014 and 2020, the EU and its member states allocated 8.5 billion euros in development aid, humanitarian aid, security and defense. The Union has also deployed three Common Security and Defense Policy missions in the region. However, I had not yet had the opportunity to go there, my previous visits having been canceled due to the health situation.

“My trip this week comes at a pivotal moment. After the strengthening of the military action decided at the Pau Summit in early 2020, the G5 Sahel Summit (Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Chad) and the Sahel Coalition which was held in Ndjamena in Chad there is a few weeks, this time focused on the return of the rule of law and public services in fragile areas. It is also the central axis of the new strategy for the Sahel that the Council of the EU has just adopted. It is about this reorientation that I wanted to discuss with my interlocutors on site.

“The enormous challenges facing the region fuel the activity of terrorist groups and contribute to the development of drug and human trafficking. Threatening to destabilize neighboring regions and ultimately Europe.”

Borrell meets Niger President

Brussels 22.04.2021 During his visit to Chad the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell has met the President of Niger Mohamed Bazoum in N’Djamena, the capital of the Republic of Chad. After the talks he EU diplomat has issued the following statement: “We shared with the President, the analysis of the situation. I found in him very wise words, of understanding the situation, emphasising the need to guarantee the stability of Chad, and at the same time to return to constitutional normality as soon as possible. These two goals: stability, to ensure that the transition is going to take place in an orderly fashion and that this transition lasts as little [long] as possible and that this leads again to constitutional normality.
Niger’s role is fundamental. It is a big neighbour of Chad. In general, all the Sahelian countries are committed, all together and the European Union, also to help this transition, by guaranteeing stability and the return to normality, I repeat, constitutional.”

The President of the Republic, Head of State, His Excellency Mohamed Bazoum has been receiving the Vice President of the European Commission, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign and Political Affairs, Mr Joseph Borell.

Rencontré à N’Djamena le Président du Niger Mohamedbazoum
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Quelques semaines après un processus électoral historique, l’UE réaffirme la volonté de poursuivre notre partenariat, et de soutenir le premier transfert démocratique de l’histoire du pays.

EU confirms Sahel strategy

Brussels 19.04.2021 The EU Council approved conclusions reaffirming the importance of a solid and long-term partnership between the EU and the Sahel, and on the EU’s integrated strategy in the region. (Image above: Barkhane, Les Black Hawk suédois rejoignent la Task Force Takuba).

The Council approved conclusions reaffirming the importance of a solid and long-term partnership between the EU and the Sahel, and of stepping up that partnership through an ambitious EU strategy setting the framework for its policies and actions in the region.

Since 2012 the Sahel has faced a profound security crisis that has hampered its development and, together with other long-term trends such as climate change, demographic pressure, the access to natural resources and epidemic risks, risks wiping out the progress made in recent decades.

During the period of the previous EU Sahel strategy (2011-2020), the EU has mobilised all instruments at its disposal, from humanitarian aid to security forces, to support the Sahel populations, and now intends to intensify its political efforts through a new, ambitious, inclusive and flexible strategy based on the principle of mutual accountability with Sahel partner authorities.

In line with international coordination efforts within the Sahel Coalition, the EU emphasises the importance of a ‘civilian and political leap forward’ focusing both on short-term stabilisation and long-term prospects for sustainable social, environmental and economic development, above and beyond military involvement.

The promotion protection and fulfilment of all human rights will continue to remain at the heart of EU support for the Sahel, as well as efforts in the areas of governance and the rule of law, anti-corruption, and the provision of basic public services to all people.

Recognizing past as well as emerging trends, the EU will continue to support Sahel partners in fighting terrorist armed groups, and support their efforts in the field of security sector reform.

The EU will continue strengthening the multilateral system, with the United Nations at its core, alongside regional organisations.

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