Category Archives: NEWS

EU supports Kenya reforms

European Commission announced two new programmes totalling €31 million to boost investment and create jobs in Kenya.

“We have a close and valued partnership with Kenya, driven by common objectives and aligned with the Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs and Kenya’s Big Four Agenda. I’m delighted to announce these new programmes today, which will deepen our economic partnership, boost Kenya’s economic potential, improve the investment climate, and create jobs. They are further evidence of our mutually beneficial cooperation to promote sustainable development to eradicate poverty” European Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen (pictured) said in Nairobi.

The two programmes will support strategic dialogue and strengthen the EU-Kenya economic partnership:

  • €26 million will be directed at reforms of Kenya’s public finances to promote economic stability, improve service delivery and tackle poverty.
  • €5 million will target economic cooperation and national policy reforms. It will also provide technical support for implementing Kenya’s Vision 2030 and ‘Big 4′ agenda.

During her visit to Kenya, Commissioner Urpilainen held talks with, amongst others, President Uhuru Kenyatta and acting Treasury Minister Ukur Yatani to discuss future bilateral cooperation between Kenya and the EU. She also gave a keynote speech at the 9th Summit of the Heads of State and Government of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) and met young leaders to exchange with them on political, economic and social issues and learn about their priorities for Kenya’s development. On Sunday, she visited the Kalobeyei refugee settlement, where the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa works with UN partners to ensure that refugees and the host community live together peacefully, have access to social services and develop economic ties to build sustainable livelihoods.

EU advisory mission in CAR

The Council established a European Union CSDP civilian advisory mission in the Central African Republic (EUAM RCA). The mission will be launched by the Council no later than in the spring of 2020. Accordingly, a core team will make the necessary preparations to allow the mission to reach its initial operating capability.

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The aim of the mission is to support the reform of the internal security forces to enable the Central African Republic (CAR) authorities to mitigate the current security challenges in the country. EU experts will support the Ministry of the Interior and the internal security forces, the police and the gendarmerie, with the aim of helping in their deployment throughout the country.

In a phased, scalable and modular approach, EUAM RCA will provide advice to the CAR authorities at the strategic level to support the sustainable transformation of CAR internal security forces into a coherent and accountable security provider operating under national ownership. The mission will coordinate closely with the military EU Training Mission (EUTM RCA), the UN MINUSCA mission and the international community.

The mission will be established in accordance with the crisis management concept (CMC) that was approved by the Council on 21 November 2019 and the subsequent operational planning documents. The CAR will be the third country to receive support in parallel from both military and civilian CSDP missions after Mali and Somalia.

EU recognises Sudan political transition

“The Council today adopted conclusions on Sudan, recognising the historic opportunity that Sudan’s political transition offers to work towards a peaceful, democratic and prosperous country. (Image above: left Josep Borrell, EU HR)

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“The conclusions highlight that Sudan’s success remains crucial for stability in the Horn of Africa and the wider region and reaffirm EU’s commitment, as a key partner, to accompanying Sudan on its political, economic and social reform path, in order to make the transition to democracy a success.

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“The Council also highlights that in order to guarantee the long-term stability of the country, the transition should include all elements of society, notably women, youth and people of regions particularly affected by conflict and marginalisation. The importance of civil society is also reiterated.

“In this regard, the Council recalls that only an effective civilian-led government with real decision-making authority will gain the confidence of the Sudanese people and lay the foundations for meaningful reforms.  The EU remains ready to assist a Sudanese-led peace process in coordination with regional partners, especially the African Union.

“While acknowledging that substantial macro-economic reforms are needed to revitalise the Sudanese economy and set it on a course towards inclusive and sustainable growth, the Council notes that the EU stands ready to support the transitional government’s plans in this regard.

“While welcoming the recent steps taken by the transition government, the conclusions state that the EU remains concerned by the deteriorating humanitarian situation, which has been aggravated by a high number of refugees and internally displaced persons. The EU calls upon the Sudanese authorities to remove the remaining bureaucratic obstacles to the work of humanitarian and development actors.

First Leyen official visit attributed to Africa

“During her first official visit outside Europe today in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, President Ursula von der Leyen outlined her ambition to further strengthen the EU-Africa partnership, based on mutual respect, promoting sustainable development, peace and security as well as greater economic ties and tackling climate change. The visit comes ahead of next year’s EU-Africa Summit.

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“Speaking in Addis Ababa today, President von der Leyen said: “I have chosen Africa for my very first visit outside Europe to send a strong political message because the African continent and the African Union matter to the European Union. Today we have seen in our discussions that there is room for greater cooperation between Europe and Africa.“

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“President von der Leyen met with African Union Commission Chairman, Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat, where she reaffirmed the EU’s commitment to boost cooperation at all levels.

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“The President then held bilateral meetings with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Sahle-Work Zewde.”

 

Greece expels Libya Ambassador

Libyan ambassador is expelled from Athens following the agreement between Libya and Turkey, signed on November 27, which maps out a sea boundary between the two countries, close to Crete island.

Mohamed Younis AB Menfi has 72 hours to leave the country, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias told reporters on December 6. The Turkey-Libyan accord was a “blatant violation of international law,” Dendias said.

Ankara is backing Libya’s internationally recognized government in Tripoli.The agreement on maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean Sea between Turkey and the Chairman Fayez Al Sarraj administration could complicate disputes over energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean, where Turkish drilling has caused indignation of Greek Cypriots, Athens, and the EU.

Nigeria: vessel crew kidnapped

Pirates have kidnapped 19 crew members of a Greek crude oil tanker off Nigeria, an official with the ship’s operator confirmed on December 5. Reportedly, the vessel was carrying crude for Indian refiner Hindustan Petroleum Corp. The vessel was chartered by French oil company Total to deliver Bonny Light oil to Vizag in southern India, the source said. (Image above: illustration)

“We are doing everything necessary to make sure that the 19 crew members will return safe,” an official at Navios said. Meanwhile, an Indian government source said its mission in Nigeria had taken up the matter of the kidnappings with the Nigerian government and security agencies.

On December 3 the vessel was 77 nautical miles (142 km) off Bonny island when crew were seized, the official said

The Hong Kong-flagged supertanker Nave Constellation, capable of carrying up to two million barrel of oil, is operated by Greek shipping company Navios Tankers Management.

Seven crew members remained on board and were told to take the loaded vessel to a safer position, the statement said. 

“All appropriate authorities” have been alerted, and “all the necessary action is being taken to secure their well-being and early release”, the statement said.

13 French military perish in Mali

During counter-terrorist operation in Mali thirteen French soldiers have been killed in a helicopter collision, the French president’s office announced.

French President Emmanuel Macron expressed “deep sadness” over the biggest single loss of life for the French military since the 1980s.

An investigation has begun into how the two helicopters crashed into each other.
It happened around 19:40 local time (19:40 GMT) on November 25 near the borders of Burkina Faso and Niger where the aircraft were reinforcing ground troops who were pursuing djihadists, the French military explained.

Thousands of French troops have been deployed in Mali in anti-terrorist operaiton Barkhane in Mali.

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