Tag Archives: African Union

EU-AU €600M assistance

Brussels 21.04.2022 The Council adopted today a decision establishing an assistance measure under the European Peace Facility (EPF) in support of the African Union worth €600 million. The EU reaffirms its strong commitment to the EU-AU partnership and to cooperation in the area of peace and security. (Image: illustration).

Covering the period 2022-2024, the three-year Assistance Measure continues the well-established provision of long-term EU support to African-led Peace Support Operations. Within its framework, the African Union will be able to request support for individual Peace Support Operations as needs arise, allowing a quick response to relevant security developments on the African continent.

The adopted support is in line with the EU’s commitment to strengthen multilateralism and in particular the key role of the AU regarding peace and security on the African continent. It forms an important part of the two Union’s renewed and enhanced cooperation for peace and security, as announced in the recent AU-EU Summit Declaration.

In the framework of this Council Decision, the Political and Security Committee has approved additional support to further enhance the operational effectiveness of the Multi-National Joint Task Force against Boko Haram (MNJTF) in partnership with the African Union and create a safe and secure environment in the areas affected by the activities of Boko Haram and other terrorist groups. This is the first action supported under the new Assistance Measure in support of African-led Peace Support Operations.

The EU will add €10 million to the resources already mobilised under the EPF for the MNJTF, increasing its overall support to €20 million and allowing for an extension of the provided support until the end of 2022. Previous support covering the period 1 January – 30 June 2022 was agreed on 16 December 2021.

The support provided covers personnel and operational/logistical costs, including ground and air transportation, communication equipment and medical services, to enable the MNJT to effectively carry out its mandate.

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.

Ethiopia: Borrell welcomes opposition leaders release

Brussels 10.01.2022 “The release of some political opposition leaders and the establishment of the National Dialogue Commission are positive steps towards ending the ongoing conflict in Northern Ethiopia. The European Union has always stressed that the only option for a peaceful and long lasting solution is an independent, comprehensive and inclusive National Dialogue that leaves no one behind” reads the statement by the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell (pictured) on the latest developments.

“However, despite these positive steps, the conflict continues, including an airstrike today hitting a camp for internally displaced people killing and wounding many civilians. Immediate and unimpeded humanitarian access must be allowed to save lives, as no trucks carrying humanitarian assistance has entered Tigray since mid-December”.

“All parties must seize the moment to swiftly end the conflict and enter into dialogue. The EU stands ready to work with the African Union, the United Nations, and other international partners to support this process”.

Omicron: AU calls to lift travel restrictions

Brussels 08.12.2021 The African Union called for an urgent end to travel restrictions imposed on some of its member states, saying the measures effectively penalise governments for timely data sharing in line with international health regulations.

The measures act “as a disincentive for information sharing in the future, potentially posing a threat to health security on the continent and globally,” the AU said in a statement.

Late last month, European Union states, the United States and Britain, among other nations such as Israel, imposed travel curbs on seven southern African countries after they reported several cases of the Omicron variant, which is considered highly infectious.

Guinea: Colonel Doumbouya ascends power

Brussels 06.09.2021 Colonel Mamady Doumbouya is regarded as the new leader in charge of Guinea after he headed a unit of elite soldiers seizing power on Sunday, September 5.

Announcing the military takeover, the 41-year-old former French legionary said the army had little choice because of the rampant corruption, disregard for human rights and economic mismanagement under President Alpha Condé.

“The president is with us, he’s in a safe place,” Colonel told French media on Sunday after the coup.

Dressed in a red beret, sunglasses and army fatigues, Colonel Mamady Doumbouya had announced earlier on Guinea’s state TV that “the Guinean personalisation of political life is over. We will no longer entrust politics to one man, we will entrust it to the people”.

Alpha Condé remains in detention while the UN, African Union and regional body ECOWAS all condemn the military junta ascending power in a coup d’état.

After meeting ministers from Alpha Condé’s government on Monday, the Colonel announced a new “union” government would be formed within coming weeks and promised there would be no “witch-hunt” against former officials.

“I condemn the seizure of power by force in # Guinea and call for the immediate release of President Alpha Condé” the European Union top diplomat Josep Borrell wrote on his Twitter micro blog.
“I invite all actors to act with respect for the rule of law, the interests of peace and for the well-being of the Guinean population”.

Ethiopia: “final & crucial” military operation

Ethiopian military in Somalia have “disarmed” between 200 and 300 of their ethnic Tigray militia over the past week as conflict rages in the northern Ethiopian region, Reuters news agency reports, referring to their anonymous security and diplomatic sources.

The soldiers’ weapons were removed due to concerns over the their loyalty, the sources said, without detailing the process. They said they included bilateral and African Union troops.

The Ethiopian government, a military spokesman and African Union (AU) peacekeeping force did not react upon calls and messages of media for comment. An Ethiopian government taskforce on Wednesday, November 18, denied the authorities were targeting ethnic Tigrayans in any way.

Ethiopian troops began fighting forces from the northern region of Tigray earlier this month after what the government described as a surprise attack by Tigrayan forces on a military camp stationed there.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has declared that “the final and crucial” military operation will launch in the coming days against the government of the country’s rebellious Tigray region, France 24 television reports.

Two diplomatic sources said the disarmed men were believed to be confined to their bases in Somalia and a security source said a deputy commander in one of the military sectors was among those who had been disarmed.

EU-AU meeting in Addis Ababa

Opening statement by President von der Leyen at the 10th EU-AU Commission-to-Commission meeting plenary session which took place on Feburary 26 in Addis-Ababa.

“…We are natural partners. And listening to you, I once again realised how similar our challenges and our opportunities are and how natural it is to work together in the mutual interest” president von der Leyen said.

“Africa is home to the fastest growing economies of the world. And your nations and community of nations are becoming more and more united – if you look at the African peacekeeping missions to the new Free Trade Area, I am very interested in them.

And just like Europe, you want to be the master of your future. So there are a lot of common points we have to discuss and where we can find common paths towards the future. I truly believe that the stronger Africa will be, the stronger we will be too.

So I am pleased to be back here with the College, the Commissioners. And indeed, this is the largest delegation of Commissioners as College ever. We never had so many Commissioners on a trip abroad, outside the European Union, so many Commissioners to visit. And therefore, this too is a very strong sign of the interest we have in each other.

You mentioned many topics we have to discuss, be it peace and security or jobs and skills. But, of course, also climate action, the transition to a digital society and economy, human mobility, trade, and many other topics.

It is our 10th College-to-College meeting, we have already come a long way. And we have worked together on security and development from the Horn of Africa to the Sahel, you mentioned it. We have started to invest in good jobs for youth across the continent.

It has become a partnership of equals, where both sides have something to win and both sides have a lot of responsibilities. So we are aware of the challenges, but we are also aware of the common perspective and the common opportunities we want to grasp.

Dear Moussa, when I first came to Addis, I told you that I came first of all to listen. And this is why we are all here today. After our first meeting, we have put together topics, a set of proposals – these will be the round tables today – the four main themes that we have chosen together.

It is first of all peace, security and good governance. Your initiative to silence the guns in Africa is something we are deeply impressed of, we want to support you as much as we can. It is a huge challenge, it is absolutely the right idea to silence the guns. So you have us at your side because this is of utmost importance for the development of this continent. And you rightly mentioned that Libya shows how natural it should be to join forces – we have met indeed in Berlin – but we know how difficult it is to implement afterwards. To keep everybody on board. But this is the essence of multilateralism. It is not only to sit down together to discuss things but it is also to implement them, to stay true to what you have accepted or what you have promised. So there is still a lot to do – we know it – and we count on you and your expertise to improve things knowing how hard this will be. So let us discuss how to best link your initiatives and our initiatives.

Second, on trade and investment. We all know the questions we have in front of us. How to make the most of your new Free Trade Area. How to bring investment to Africa. Indeed, as you mentioned, Europe is the largest investor in Africa and the largest trade partner to Africa. So there is a lot we have to share – a lot of technologies and expertise we can share. We would like to hear what you expect from our partnership, and how far you are willing to go.

Third, on the transition towards a cleaner, carbon-neutral and digital economy. I think no one understands climate change better than you. I just have to mention the growing desert. And all of us, in our continents, in Africa and in Europe, we see already and fear the consequences of climate change – the floodings, the draughts, the grief over losing species – we call it biodiversity. The knowledge that we have to profoundly change the way we produce and consume into a circular economy with respect to nature, live in harmony with nature. There is a lot we have to change, but also a lot of opportunities ahead of us we want to grasp – with new technologies and new opportunities. And the same goes, of course, for the digital age – I know that there is a thirst for digital skills in young Africans and young Europeans – let us join forces there, let us give them the technologies, let us give them the skills and, of course, frame the whole thing, because technology is neutral. So it is depending of us what we make out of it – whether it is going to be more positive or more difficult for our societies. And if I may say so, Africa does not have to repeat that same mistakes Europe did in the past. So you can take the fast track towards a more modern and more sustainable economy. Let us walk this path together, in our mutual interest.

Finally, on migration, human mobility and skills. I commend you for your initiatives on giving women full access to finance, full access to entrepreneurship, to create your own business – rightly so, I can only say. It is something where Europe also fights for, struggles with. We are still not where we want to be, we know these topics, but [and] we have improved and still, there is a lot to do. So I commend you on that. I commend you on your initiatives in investing in youth. We have achieved a lot in recent years, also on the topic of fighting smuggling and human trafficking, which disrespects the human dignity. So there, we join forces. And on the topic of voluntary returns: There is still a long way to go, yes. We must invest in what has worked over the years – so we have some experience. Over the last decades, we worked a lot together, we made mistakes, we had successes. So let us take this experience and move it forward. That what worked, we should extend, we should emphasise and intensify. And we must do more so that African youth can find a place within their own societies – through investment to education, health – these are the main topics we want to tackle.

We have come with proposals, but we want to hear from you, too. This is the fourth round table, I am very curious to hear the results. All this is based on the conversation that we will work on our contributions to a new Strategy with Africa. This is the starting point today. This is the very first step we take. It is a big step in taking our partnership – a long lasting partnership – to the next level. I am looking forward to that.”

Michel addresses AU Summit

Speech by President of the European Union Council Charles Michel at the official dinner of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa:

“It is an honour and privilege for me to take the floor as the voice of Europe before you, in Ethiopia, the land of origins and the cradle of the last Nobel Peace Prize. Congratulations again dear Abiy Ahmed.

It is with deep pleasure that I return to this continent, for which I have so much affection.

I am here today to bear witness to a metamorphosis of this continent but also that of Europe.

Your northern neighbour is changing. I am here tonight to speak for 27 European countries. 22 of them never had any colonies.

A new generation of leaders is coming to power. They are not hampered by the burden of nostalgia.

We want to look towards the future, and to our neighbours. We want to tackle climate change and the digital revolution. The two major challenges we are all facing.

Europe wants to speak up on the international stage, where its values inspire its actions.

This changing Europe is looking at Africa with fresh eyes – with respect, optimism and confidence!

Africa is vibrant, full of the energy of youth and it is buzzing with new technology!

A continent of opportunities: that is what Europe sees.

For a long time, Europe remained trapped in an outdated view of this continent.

Africa, too, has at times cultivated a kind of ambiguity in its relationship with Europe.

Our closeness connects us, our partnership is a rich one. Everything draws us towards one another: history, geography, culture and the many exchanges between us.

Europe is your partner for trade, investment, cooperation and development. But this partnership is no longer enough; it needs to be reinvented. We must build a new house to accommodate our many common interests, and we must write a new chapter together”.

EU calls Sudan for consensus

“The use of violence today against protesters and other civilians has led to deplorable loss of life. We express our condolences to the families and friends of the victims”, said  European External Action Service (EEAS) spokesperson (pictured) in a statement, commenting outbreak of violence in Khartoum on June 3.

“There is no justification for the use of force to disperse the peaceful sit-in. The Transitional Military Council is accountable for security and rule of law in the country, and have the responsibility to act with restraint.

“We expect the Transitional Military Council to respect the right of people to voice peacefully their concerns, without any threat or use of violence. Any escalation of the use of violence can only derail the necessary political process and lead to a dangerous impasse, that will not respond to the legitimate aspirations of the people of Sudan.

“The priority should remain to find a swift consensus that allows a transfer of power to a civilian-led authority, as also prescribed by the African Union. Such an authority is the only partner with which EU-Sudan relations can be normalised.”

 

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