Tag Archives: Africa

Tigray: towards peace

Brussels 12.09.2022 “The Regional Government of Tigray announces its readiness to abide by an immediate cessation of hostilities and to participate in AU-led peace process. This opportunity should be seized by all. Now. EU ready to support” writes the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell.
Ethiopia’s Tigray rebels said Sunday, September 11, they were ready for a ceasefire and would accept a peace process led by the African Union, removing an obstacle to negotiations with the government to end almost two years of brutal warfare.

The announcement was made amid a flurry of international diplomacy after fighting flared last month for the first time in several months in northern Ethiopia, torpedoing a humanitarian truce.

“The government of Tigray is prepared to participate in a robust peace process under the auspices of the African Union,” said a statement by the Tigrayan authorities.

“Furthermore, we are ready to abide by an immediate and mutually agreed cessation of hostilities in order to create a conducive atmosphere.”

Mozambique: fighting terrorism

Brussels 12.09.2022 “Last week I was in Mozambique, a country where EU support plays a significant including through one of the largest recipients of EU support and host to one of our EU military training missions” writes the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell.

“My visit aimed to show that the EU does not forget crises in other parts of the world, despite facing the worst threat to European security since the end of World War II with the war of aggression against Ukraine. Mozambique’s fight against terrorism is one of these security crises that we help to tackle using all EU instruments.”
n Europe, we are very focused on Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and its implications for European security. But other crises and global problems do not stop. On the contrary, they have often been aggravated by the consequences of this war. We need more than ever to continue to work with our partners around the globe to defend the rules-based order and to keep up our work on global challenges. For this purpose, the EU’s close partnership with Africa is crucial.

The EUTM Mozambique, launched in November 2021, is a key element in the EU’s commitment to help Mozambique’s fight against this terrorism. Over the next two years, it will train 11 units of the Mozambican army (commandos and marines) that will be part of a future Quick Reaction Force. In addition to military training, the EUTM is also providing training on human rights and international humanitarian law, in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and relevant UN organisations. Ten EU member states participate to the Mission with 110 soldiers deployed at the moment. This mission is now fully operational, having already trained 600 soldiers. During my stay in Mozambique, I visited the mission to hand over European Peace Facility (EPF)-funded equipment and witness a change of command.

In all of this, we work closely with the Southern African Development Community Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM), and during my visit, I announced the EU decision to provide € 15 million to this mission in addition to the € 89 million of EPF support. It is the first time ever that we train people while in parallel providing them with equipment. In the coming weeks, I hope that our member states will also agree on my proposal to support the Rwandese military mission that has been decisive to improve the situation in Cabo Delgado.

“This was the backdrop of my two-days visit to Mozambique. It is a coastal country in Southern Africa with an area bigger than any EU country, inhabited by some 30 million people. With its fast demographic growth (6 children per woman on average), its population is set to double by 2050 (and already now almost half of the population is under the age of 14). Mozambique ranks 181/189 on the Human Development Index and the poverty rate is above 60%. After the country became independent from Portugal in 1975, Mozambique went through a protracted civil war that ended in 1992, but it was only in 2019, that a “definitive” peace and reconciliation agreement was reached. My predecessor Federica Mogherini came to Maputo to witness the signature of this historic agreement that the EU supported significantly.

“While the agreement holds for most of the country, the northern Cabo Delgado province has suffered from armed attacks since 2017 leading to an unprecedented humanitarian and security crisis. Fighting have resulted in over 4.000 deaths, some 950,000 internally displaced persons and 1.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in this region. This insurgency is inspired and driven by ISIS, while local grievances and domestic root causes also play a significant role. Foreign fighters are involved and their transit to Cabo Delgado poses risks to neighbouring countries. Due to this instability, the region has become a hotspot of organised crime (heroin, wildlife, wood and gemstone trafficking for instance) in Mozambique and the entire Southern African region.

“Following the establishment of an EU training mission and the deployment in 2021 of Rwandan and Southern African Development Community (SADC) troops to Cabo Delgado to support the efforts of the Mozambican army, these armed groups temporarily lost the initiative. However, security incidents have continued in the province as the armed groups have dispersed and changed tactics.

But we know that you cannot win a war against terror with soldiers and weapons only. To win this kind of war, one needs to win the peace as well. This is why we work closely with the Government of Mozambique to cover the full spectrum of humanitarian, development, security and peace-building actions. In parallel to our security support, we focus on education, access to water and sanitation, energy, nutrition and climate change. This includes a package of € 428 million for the period 2021-2024, in addition to around €R 36 million of humanitarian assistance (mainly to Cabo Delgado since 2021).

Some journalists in Mozambique have asked me whether our support to the fight against terrorism in Cabo Delgado is linked to the gas reserves in this region. My answer was clear: the gas discoveries in Mozambique should benefit the Mozambican people first and foremost, while they can also help to tackle the global energy crisis and energy demand. But that is not the primary reason of our engagement in Mozambique. The security of Europe starts in places that can be sometimes thousands of kilometres away. The Somali crisis have had profound repercussions on the neighbouring countries and the ship traffic in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel crisis also started in a limited area and quickly spread all over the region. We need to help avoid that kind of large scale destabilization happening in another place on the continent. This is why we support the efforts of Mozambique in Cabo Delgado”.

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.

Omicron: EU lifts SA travel restrictions

Brussels 10.01.2022 European Union member states have agreed to lift the travel ban on flights to southern African countries, which will allow more voyages to resume.

The decision lifts the so-called emergency brake introduced in November, France, which holds the rotating EU presidency, informed in Tweet micro blog. Travellers from the region will still be subject to health measures applicable to travellers from third countries.

European nations had suspended most air travel from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe as the WHO and scientists were in process to assess the severity of the omicron variant. The bloc maintained the limits even after cases continued to surge around the world, despite an outcry from the region.

Gulf of Guinea pirate attacks

Brussels 26.04.2021 Two successive attacks on commercial vessels have just taken place in the Gulf of Guinea.
On Friday (April 23), a container ship was attacked 130 nautical miles northwest of the island of Sao Tome (1 ° 27 North and 4 ° 38 East). The pirates were able to board the Contship New, which was en route from Port Owendo in Gabon to Lomé, Togo.

A few hours later, Saturday (April 24), at 2:23 UTC, another attack took place in the same area (1 ° 52 North and 3 ° 17 East). The ship was secured “taken care of and escorted”, we are assured at Gulf of Guinea HQ in Brest (MDAT-GOG).

The Gulf of Guinea accounted for nearly half (43%) of all reported piracy incidents in the first three months of 2021, according to the latest figures from the ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB).

IMB’s latest global piracy report records 38 incidents since the start of 2021 – compared with 47 incidents during the same period last year. In the first three months of 2021, the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) reported 33 vessels boarded, two attempted attacks, two vessels fired upon, and one vessel hijacked.

Despite a drop in the number of reported piracy incidents for Q1 2021, violence against crew is on the rise in comparison to previous years. Since the start of 2021, 40 crew have been kidnapped compared to 22 crew in Q1 2020. A crew member was also killed in Q1 2021. .

Borrell : EU-AU “ambitious and creative ” partnership

Brussels, 13.11.2020 The EU top diplomat Josep Borrell described the EU-Africa relationship as a strategic issue and called for a ‘modern, ambitious and creative approach going beyond the prism of the past’. The remarks have been made this afternoon while he addressed EU ambassadors in the closing session of the 2020 EU Ambassadors’ conference. The high diplomat has underlined the central role of multilateral cooperation and partnerships, notably with the African Union, along with the UN and NATO.

In his presentation, Josep Borrell said that in a competitive world, the EU needs to ‘practice the language of power, not just speak it’. Both wider political trends and the COVID-19 pandemic have required the strengthening of the EU as a political project, building a Union that acts and protects. The High Representative/Vice-President instructed EU Ambassadors to ensure an active EU in the global arena and to fly the EU flag and speak the EU’s voice.

In terms of how the EU could enhance its international impact, Josep Borrell called for making full use of all the EU’s instruments and policies and combine these to ensure coherence and build leverage. The use of the EU’s new external spending instruments should be geared towards the Union’s strategic priorities. The Team Europe approach that was born in the pandemic and which brings together the actions of EU institutions and member states, acting under one banner should become the norm everywhere.

Calling EU Member States ‘the ultimate deciders’, the High Representative/Vice-President noted the need to build trust and a common sense of purpose. The EU has to safeguard its ability to act, also when Member States are divided. This requires an honest debate on a selective use of qualified majority voting to ‘avoid paralysis and delays’.

Concluding the conference Josep Borrell has underlined the central role that multilateral cooperation and partnerships, notably with the UN, NATO, the African Union and ASEAN have played and will continue to do in the future.

The high diplomat was addressing EU Ambassadors from the EU’s 143 Delegations and Offices around the world, the heads of EU military and civilian operations and the heads of the European Commission Representations in the 27 EU Member States at the end of a week-long annual conference, which was opened by the High Representative/Vice-President on Monday 9 November.

Nice impact: Hungary refuses new entrants

“Africans should have a future in Africa,” Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told public radio commenting on Thursday’s terrorist attack in Nice, adding that “if you don’t want to give in, the only thing you can do is deny entry”.

“If we don’t want to see cases such as in Nice we must not allow them in,” Orbán said. “Apart from the few already here we do not want new entrants, especially not [illegal] migrants,” he said.

The Hungarian government “must not allow Brussels to force on Hungary rules under which we should allow entry to people who we do not wish to see — and then go to funerals”, Orbán said. “Despite all pressure Hungary will not follow the Brussels path.”

Orbán insisted that “the Hungarian opposition is for migration” and “opposition MEPs are in the same pack with those wishing to see Hungary change its migration rules … but as long as [Hungary has] this government, migrants will not come in.”

EU-AU diplomats update Post-cotonou

Brussels 21.09.2020 “Our ambition is clear: we want a stronger EU-Africa partnership. At informal development ministers meeting next week, we will continue our discussions on how to further step up our relations” said the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell, concluding the Council of the bloc foreign ministers.

The EU diplomats exchanged views on the EU relations with its African Union counterparts, and ways to step up relations with Africa in the medium and long term both from a political and an economic point of view.

Ministers agreed to develop joint strategic priorities in order to pave the way for cooperation in the next decade, and to focus on tangible results, in the spirit of the “Team Europe” approach.

In this context the Council was also updated on the state of play of the post-Cotonou negotiations.

EU reinforces humanitarian aid

The European Commission proposes €14.8 billion for humanitarian aid, of which €5 billion come from the European Union Recovery Instrument to reinforce the humanitarian aid.

The increased budget reflects the growing humanitarian needs in the most vulnerable parts of the world. The Humanitarian Aid Instrument will provide needs-based delivery of EU assistance to save and preserve lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and dignity of populations affected by natural hazards or man-made crises.

A significantly enhanced Solidarity and Emergency Aid Reserve will reinforce EU action in response to all aspects of the health crisis, as well as other emergencies. Funds can be channelled to provide emergency support as and when needed through EU instruments such as humanitarian aid in cases where funding under dedicated programmes proves insufficient.

EU additional €50M aid across world

Today the European Commission announced an additional €50 million in humanitarian aid to help respond to the dramatic increase in humanitarian needs caused by the Coronavirus pandemic globally. The new funding follows increased appeals by humanitarian organisations, including the UN Global Appeal.

The new funding will help vulnerable people facing major humanitarian crises, notably in the Sahel and Lake Chad region, the Central African Republic, the Great Lakes region in Africa, Eastern Africa, Syria, Yemen, Palestine and Venezuela, as well as the Rohingya. It will provide access to health services, protective equipment, water and sanitation. It will be channelled through non-governmental organisations, international organisations, United Nations agencies, and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

“The Coronavirus pandemic is creating a humanitarian crisis of an enormous scale in some of the most fragile countries in the world. The pandemic threatens food security in countries where public health systems were already weak before this new crisis. We must act now to leave no area of the world unprotected. This is in our common interest. And it is crucial that humanitarian actors continue to have the access to carry out their life-saving work,” Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management, said.

The €50 million allocation comes in addition to significant humanitarian funding and actions already provided by the European Commission to respond to the most pressing needs created by the Coronavirus pandemic:

In February 2020, €30 million was allocated to the World Health Organization. Since then, the Commission has, subject to the agreement of the EU budgetary authorities,planned around €76 million to programmes included in the United Nations Global Humanitarian Response Plan. In addition, the Commission is providing direct funding for the work of humanitarian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement, which are in the frontline of the humanitarian response to Coronavirus.

Previously, on 8 May, the Commission also announced the establishment of an EU Humanitarian Air Bridge to transport humanitarian workers and emergency supplies for the Coronavirus response to some of the most critically affected areas around the world. The first flight on 8 May, operated in cooperation with France, transported around 60 humanitarian workers from various NGOs and UN agencies and 13 tonnes of humanitarian cargo to Bangui in the Central African Republic. Two subsequent humanitarian cargo flights to Central African Republic will transport a further 27 tonnes of humanitarian supplies in total.

On 15 May, on the second destination of the EU humanitarian air bridge 20 tons of supplies and humanitarian and health workers were flown to the West-African country of São Tomé and Principe. The flight was set-up in cooperation with the Portuguese government and several humanitarian partner organisations. On their return leg, the flight also brought back over 200 EU citizens and other passengers to Lisbon in a repatriation effort.

The additional humanitarian funding comes on top of some €20 billion in development and emergency funding from the Commission and Member States for both short-term and long-term needs around the world as part of a “Team Europe” approach.

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