Tag Archives: Brussels

EU: Post-Cotonou informal discussion

Brussels 29.09.2020 The African Union – European Union partnership, post-Cotonou agreement were on the top of the agenda of the informal meeting of EU Development Ministers the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell has chaired today.

Within the framework of the German EU Council Presidency, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Müller, together with the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, hosted an informal meeting of EU Development Ministers. One important issue for discussion was be the EU’s future relations with Africa. The meeting has also served as basis in preparation of the Formal Meeting of EU Development Ministers in November. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting took place virtually via tele-conference.

#SOTEU: africa-EU KEY parTNER

Brussels, 16.09.2020. In the annual State of the European Union #SOTEU address the European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen devoted special attention to the bloc partnership with African countries:
“”When I came into office, I chose for the very first trip outside the European Union, to visit the African Union, and it was a natural choice. It was a natural choice and it was a clear message, because we are not just neighbours, we are natural partners,” the European Commission president von der Leyen said.
“Three months later, I returned with my entire College to set our priorities for our new strategy with Africa. It is a partnership of equals, where both sides share opportunities and responsibilities.

“Africa will be a key partner in building the world we want to live in – whether on climate, digital or trade”.
The State of the European Union #SOTEU debate is a key moment to demonstrate the European Commission’s accountability towards the EU’s democratically elected representatives. It focuses on important issues like the coming economic recovery, climate change, youth unemployment and migration flows. This annual event is significant to promote a more transparent and democratic Union. It is an opportunity to bring the European Union closer to the citizens, highlighting the year’s core action points and challenges. Citizens’ rights and the democratic process are at the heart of this unique plenary debate.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis, MEPs have taken stock of the von der Leyen Commission’s achievements to date.
Ursula Von der Leyen has outlined the impact of the Commission’s work in mitigating the COVID-19 sanitary and economic crisis, and shared her vision for economic recovery, fighting climate change, and the situation in Europe’s neighbourhood.
Political group leaders have assessed the Commission’s work and set out their views, as this annual State of the Union debate is a chance for MEPs to scrutinise the work and the plans of the European Commission and help set the future direction for the EU.
The debate started with an address by President von der Leyen, followed by several rounds of interventions by political group speakers between which Ms von der Leyen answered to MEPs. The German Council Presidency also took the floor.

Libya: Macron expresses «grave concerns»

We met today in Brussels on the sidelines of the European Council to discuss the situation in Libya. We share serious concerns about rising military tensions in that country and the increased risk of regional escalation. We therefore call on all the Libyan parties and their foreign supporters to immediately cease the fighting and end the ongoing military escalation across the country” reads the text of the statement of President of France Macron, issued during the European Summit in Brussels on July 18.

We also call on all foreign actors to end their growing interference and to fully respect the arms embargo established by the United Nations Security Council. We take our responsibilities and are determined to ensure the full effectiveness of Operation Irini in order to prevent any escalation on the ground. We are ready to consider a possible use of sanctions if embargo violations at sea, on land or in the air continue and look forward to the proposals that the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and security policy will do to this end.

We support the efforts of the United Nations to obtain the signing of a lasting and credible ceasefire agreement within the framework of the negotiations under way within the 5 + 5 Committee. At this critical moment, we also encourage the United Nations to explore all options to reduce tensions, including those of a large disengagement of forces or even possible demilitarization in certain regions. We reaffirm the need for a special representative of the Secretary-General in Libya to be appointed promptly.

We remind all Libyan and international parties that a political settlement to the Libyan crisis must be fully inclusive and based on the conclusions of the Berlin Conference. We also recall that it is necessary to quickly lift the oil blockade and to guarantee a fair and transparent distribution of oil revenues for the benefit of all Libyans”.

Towards stronger EU-Africa partnership

The Council today approved conclusions on Africa, restating the paramount importance of a stronger EU-Africa partnership.

The conclusions note that Joint Communication Towards a comprehensive strategy with Africa constitutes an excellent basis on which to initiate a new ambitious partnership with Africa. The next EU-AU Summit will be a pivotal moment for renewing a comprehensive joint strategic approach that delivers on these aspirations.

The conclusions underline that a prosperous, peaceful and resilient Africa is an essential EU foreign policy objective, and that the EU is determined to strengthen its relationship with the African states and the African Union, in a way that is responsive both to European and African aspirations.

Such closer partnership should focus in particular on: multilateralism, peace, security and stability, sustainable and inclusive development, and sustainable economic growth.

The conclusions highlight that the COVID-19 pandemic has further demonstrated the need for a global response and a strong EU-Africa partnership. Recovery is an opportunity to build back better, greener and more resilient societies.

Finally the conclusions highlight that, working towards a joint strategy based on common objectives, the EU looks forward to stepping up an open and inclusive exchange with citizens, civil society, diaspora, young people, the private sector and top-level thinkers and decision-makers from both continents.

Image: archive Europa building, Brussels

EU co-hosts conference on Sudan

On Thursday 25 June 2020, Sudan, the European Union, the United Nations and Germany will co-host a virtual High-level international conference. Around 50 countries and international organisations will take part in the Conference. While the Sudanese Government commits itself to carry the 2019 revolution reforms forward, almost 50 countries and international organisations are offering Sudan a partnership to support the country throughout the political transition up to the elections in 2022.

This Conference will be the opportunity to reiterate the strong political support of the international community to the ongoing transition in Sudan.

It will also aim at mobilising financial support for the democratic transition, economic recovery and humanitarian needs, as the coronavirus pandemic added another strain to the country’s economic situation and increased the humanitarian needs. The conference will also provide a platform for the country’s authorities to present the reforms undertaken so far. The goal is to also raise enough funds to kick-start a social protection programme by the World Bank and the Sudanese Government that helps Sudanese families in need. The partners will also support the International Monetary Fund to open up Sudan’s road towards debt relief.

The conference will start at 15:00 with an opening panel discussion with the participation of the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission Josep Borrell Fontelles, his co-chairs Abdalla Hamdok, Prime Minister of the Republic of Sudan, Heiko Maas, Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany, and António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations. They will discuss the reforms and steps undertaken since last August by the Transitional Government as well as the way forward.

There will be a pledging round during which the EU pledge will be delivered by Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, and Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič.

Between the pledges, the Sudanese Reform Agenda will be discussed with the Sudanese Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Ibrahim El-Badawi, Sudanese Minister of Labour Lena el-Sheikh Mahjoub and representatives of the African Development Bank, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Last year, the world watched in admiration as hundreds of thousands of Sudanese men and women took to the streets to peacefully demand change in one of the world’s most brutal dictatorships. As months of protests led to the fall of President Omar al-Bashir’s regime and the first civilian Government in over 30 years, the Sudanese people showed the world that peaceful change is possible.

#EDD postponed to 2021

“In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and after careful consideration, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development has decided to postpone this year’s edition of the European Development Days #EDD from 9-10 June 2020 to 15-16 June 2021.

“Brussels will remain home to the event.

“The #EDD organising committee reaffirms its commitment to the EU’s Green Deal and will maintain the theme ‘The Green Deal for a Sustainable Future’. The event programme will be announced in the coming weeks. The European Commission invites all partners and media to continue their strong engagement with the event and will work towards ensuring an even greater level of participation and new partnership opportunities in June 2021.

“We extend our thanks for your input and support for the event to date. The European Commission’s main concern is to protect everyone’s health, ensure maximum attendance and allow due preparation for the event. Our thoughts are with all those affected by the crisis”.

Original published on http://www.eudevdays.eu/

Borrell: Libya ceasefire essential

“On Libya: recent developments show that the crisis may spiral out of control. Today, we wanted to send a strong signal of unity and engagement. We are in agreement on the need to engage more strongly before it is becoming too late” said the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell after the meeting of the EU Foreign Ministers in Brussels.


“Mr Salamé (pictured) has warned us again. He did so in the past, at previous Councils. He insisted on the fact that in Libya there are several risks, and these risks are increasing. First, the terrorism risk. The presence of fighters coming from Syria and also from Sudan is being detected more and more.

*Second, the migration risk. There are almost 700 000 people, according to his figures, coming from sub-Saharan Africa and from other countries. Most of them are working in Libya, not all of them want to go to Europe but some, depending on the situation in Libya may still will want to go because they may lose their jobs depending on the situation.
The third risk is the risk of destabilising the whole region, from Libya spreading wider to the Sahel.

And the fourth risk is a new geopolitical scheme. New actors are appearing in Libya: Russia and Turkey, and the whole geopolitical [situation] in the Central Mediterranean could be changed.
So we have a strong set of reasons to move from rhetoric to action. I have received the mandate to work in order to make our diplomatic outreach [more effective], to reach a political solution in the framework of the Berlin Process.
Hoping that the parties can reach a ceasefire – and we all will contribute to it – and hoping that the Berlin process can reach a political agreement, we will have to focus on monitoring the ceasefire, on controlling the arms embargo and other security measures, based on the experience of Operation Sophia.

“There’ is a strong agreement among [Foreign Affairs] Ministers [of the EU] to ask me to present proposals on these three points to the next Foreign Affairs Council or after an agreement on the ceasefire can be reached.
We are not going to do just an agreement for a ceasefire: if it happens and if there is an agreement – in the framework of the Berlin process, I insist – we will have to take measures in order to contribute to monitor the ceasefire and control the arms embargo.*

IncarNations: Kendell Geers in Bozar

IncarNations is an exhibition created by the South African artist Kendell Geers in dialogue with the Congolese collector Sindika Dokolo. A fascinating initiative that reflects the diversity of the African artistic heritage, from an Afrocentric point of view and including the itineraries of slaves, colonialism and independence movements.

@KendellGeers

@KendellGeers

“Ethnographic museums are a negation of art because they prevent the objects on display from really looking at us. Because ethnography is constituted, at its colonial origins, as a science of what is radically other, it is in its nature to fabricate strangeness, otherness, separateness“, the Senegalese philosopher Souleymane Bachir Diagne writes.

Taken from Sindika Dokolo‘s impressive collection, the works of African artists enter into dialogue with those of the diaspora while contemporary works will be displayed alongside classical works.

Incarnations looks at African art as a living philosophical practice.

Works by Sammy Baloji, William Kentridge, Tracey Rose, Wangechi Mutu, Otobong Nkanga, Yinka Shonibare CBE, Pascale Marthine Tayou, Ana Mendieta, Kehinde Wiley, Andres Serrano, Aida Muluneh, Mwangi Hutter, Hank Willis Thomas, Tracey Rose, Adrian Piper, Lubaina Himid, Roger Ballen, Zanele Muholi, Phyllis Galembo and many others.

LOCATION:

BOZAR/Centre for Fine Arts @BOZARBrussels

Guided Tours on request

Info: +32 2 507 83 36 – groups@bozar.be

 

 

 

#EDD: No One Behind!

This year’s European Development Days (EDD), Europe’s premier forum for international cooperation and development, will take place on 18 & 19 June 2019 in Brussels. The title of this year’s event is “Addressing inequalities: building a world which leaves no one behind.”

The European Development Days (EDD) highlight Europe’s commitment to building a sustainable and fairer world. The forum builds on the core belief that cooperation is key to achieving real change towards a poverty-free and sustainable world where everyone has the prospect of a decent life. An essential aim is thus to inspire the desire to work together in a spirit of true partnership through facilitating networking.
This year the EDD will focus on promoting inclusiveness and equality as a catalyst for progress towards global sustainable development.
The EDD 2019 will examine and discuss the goals of the 2030 Agenda and the EU’s
commitment to addressing inequalities.
The EDD 2019 forum – addressing inequalities: building a world which leaves no one behind – will be structured around the three main themes: Why inequalities matter for sustainable development; understanding the structural causes of inequalities; Working better together through more effective policies to address inequalities; and the 5 “Ps” of the 2030 Agenda: People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace, Partnership.”

Everyone is given a voice in this open, collaborative and inclusive platform. Each year, the global development community is invited to contribute directly to the official EDD programme by proposing activities and sessions.
Each year, the forum attracts more than 8 000 participants from over 140 countries worldwide, representing 1 200 organisations from the development community.”

The forum fosters a true spirit of partnership with all development actors. Since its launch in 2006, the forum has been an incubator of new ideas to bring about real change towards a poverty-free, sustainable and fairer world, where everyone has the opportunity for a decent life.

Niger military slain in ambush

More than 17 soldiers in Niger were killed and 11 went missing in an ambush close to Mali border, a government spokesman said.

The offensive was launched near the town of Tongo Tongo, where fighters from an Islamic State affiliate previously killed four U.S. special forces and four Nigerien soldiers.

“…The governments of Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad – member states of the G5 Sahel, a regional organization for security cooperation created in 2014 – are having great difficulty in facing the progressive spread of jihadist violence and the strengthening of criminal trafficking networks”,  Ph.D Camillo Casola writes.

G5 Sahel countries – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger– are expected to have a meeting in Brussels next week to enhance security and military cooperation with the EU amid intensified attacks of Islamic terrorists.

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