Tag Archives: Charles Michel

EU-Tunisia talks strengthen ties

Brussels 07.06.2021 Visiting Brussels on 4 June 2021, His Excellency Mr Kais Saied, the President of the Republic of Tunisia, held talks with His Excellency Mr Charles Michel, the President of the European Council, Her Excellency Ms Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission and His Excellency Mr David Maria Sassoli, the President of the European Parliament. These meetings provided an opportunity to underline the depth of historical ties between the European Union and Tunisia dating back almost half a century in a spirit of constantly evolving strategic partnership.

This new phase of bilateral relations is based on shared values and a mutual commitment to strengthening political, economic and cultural ties between the two shores of the Mediterranean.

The talks, which took place in a very cordial atmosphere, focused on young people, education, culture and economic relations, which have been some of the key areas of cooperation between Tunisia and Europe in the last few years. Delivering on the priorities announced in the European Communication on the renewed partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood and confirmed by the Council conclusions of April 2021 was also at the heart of these discussions. The two sides invoked the socio-economic impact of the crisis linked to the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic and social reforms needed to revive economic activity and growth.

Both sides welcomed the celebrations to mark the 10th anniversary of the Revolution. Since then, Tunisia has made progress in consolidating democracy, including by holding municipal, parliamentary and presidential elections and by passing laws which guarantee human rights and fundamental freedoms, demonstrating that democracy has taken root in Tunisian society.

On the subject of cooperation, the Tunisian President thanked the European Union for its consistent support since 2011, noting the European contribution of more than EUR 3 billion to Tunisia’s socio-economic recovery. For its part, the EU reiterated its long-term commitment to Tunisia and its determination to support the country’s efforts to consolidate its democratic institutions and promote a green, competitive and inclusive economy, in particular by supporting SMEs and promoting foreign investment.

The two sides also discussed the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 health crisis and the economic reforms that should be undertaken to create the right conditions for a sustained recovery of growth. The European Union, one of the largest contributors to the international COVAX mechanism, has undertaken to continue supporting the efforts made by Africa, including Tunisia, to combat the pandemic by facilitating fair access to vaccines and assisting its economic recovery, particularly in the worst affected sectors, such as tourism, services and air transport.

The visit confirmed the commitment of both sides to deepening their strategic and privileged partnership. The two sides discussed the priorities that will shape bilateral cooperation in the years to come. The following broad guidelines were outlined in the course of the discussions:

The cooperation started in 2016 under the Youth Partnership has already yielded significant results. More than 5 000 Tunisian students and academics have benefited from the Erasmus+ programme and participated in exchanges in all fields with European universities. The European Union has also supported the modernisation of higher education in Tunisia through 50 capacity-building projects under Erasmus+ since 2015.
Tunisia is also one of the countries on the southern shore of the Mediterranean which has benefited most from its participation in European research programmes since 1 January 2016 and is the only country of the Southern Neighbourhood and Africa associated with the European «Horizon 2020» Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. Tunisian organisations benefited 87 times from 68 grants funded under «Horizon 2020», receiving EUR 11.2 million of direct EU contribution enabling very advanced cooperation with European research centres. The two sides welcomed the success of this venture and discussed at some length the prospects for its future development. Tunisia has formally expressed an interest in joining the new «Horizon Europe» Framework Programme in order to continue this partnership in the field of research and innovation.
In addition, recognising the importance of investing in young people for the future of our countries, both sides reaffirmed their commitment to further intensifying cooperation in the field of education, vocational training and higher education, including through the Erasmus+ programme, and to working together to promote the cultural and cultural heritage sector. Within that context, and in the course of this visit, Tunisia submitted a letter of intent with a view to continued participation in the «Creative Europe» Framework Programme relating to the cultural and creative sectors.
Both sides agreed to work together on mobility and all aspects of migration, including legal migration, in accordance with the legal migration and mobility remit of the EU and its Member States. They also had a frank discussion on irregular migration, bearing in mind the root causes and taking their respective interests into account. It was agreed to continue joint work on all aspects of migration and its governance, including asylum, border management, the fight against migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings.
The two sides agreed to intensify cooperation in the fields of security and justice and expressed a wish to make rapid progress in the development of police cooperation. They also agreed to strengthen cooperation on preventing radicalisation, counter-terrorism and combating money laundering.
Both sides welcomed the feelers that had been put out for an agreement on extending the coverage of the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), which illustrated the success of bilateral cooperation in the space sector. This initiative also has a significant impact on the harmonisation of air transport safety on both sides of the Mediterranean and will benefit the tourism sector too.
Both parties also stressed the importance of continuing to implement the partnership within the framework of the consultation mechanisms set up by the EU-Tunisia association agreement, including expert discussions on the work of the subcommittees. The EU and Tunisia welcomed the fact that various thematic meetings had been held under the association agreement in 2019 and 2020 in spite of the health constraints. These meetings had allowed fruitful exchanges to take place on the challenges facing both sides and ensured the continuation of dialogue between the Tunisian and European administrations.
Lastly, the European and Tunisian sides exchanged views on regional and international issues of common interest, including the Middle East peace process. Both sides welcomed the ceasefire which should end the violence, expressing a desire to continue working with international partners to relaunch the political process and reiterating their strong commitment to the two-state solution.
In the light of Tunisia’s participation in the UN Security Council in 2021, both sides agreed to intensify political and diplomatic contacts in order to contribute together to the international community’s commitment to multilateralism and UN principles. In that spirit, the EU and Tunisia reiterated their support for the call of 30 March 2021 for an international treaty on pandemic prevention and preparedness.
The EU and Tunisia underlined their joint determination to implement the initiatives referred to above and to continue fruitful exchanges at all levels, in this case technical and political, which are the key to strengthening their privileged partnership.

EU reacts on Burkina-Faso terrorist attack

Brussels 05.06.2021 “Burkina Faso has just been the victim of one of the most grave terrorist attacks in recent years. The EU stands more than ever alongside the country and the G5 Sahel SE to face terrorism and extremism together” the EU Council president Charles Michel wrote on his Twitter micro blog.

Armed men have killed around 100 people in an attack on a village in the north of Burkina Faso, President Roch Kabore said.

During the overnight raid on Solhan, homes and the market were also burned, Reuters news agency reports quoting a government statement.

No group has said it was behind the violence, but Islamist attacks are increasingly common in the Sahel country, especially in regions bordering Niger and Mali.

President Kabore has declared three days of national mourning saying, in a tweet, that “we must stand united against the forces of evil”.

The security forces are currently looking for the perpetrators, he added.

EU calls for liberation of Mali president

Brussels 25.05.2021 During the press-conference in Brussels the President of the EU Council Charles Michel called for the immediate liberation of the kidnapped Mali President and Prime Minister. “We have followed the situation in Mali, the recent developments, we condemn what has taken place in Mali in recent hours, the kidnapping of the President and the Prime Minister, and we support the declaration made by the ECOWAS and the African Union, we are calling to the return to the transition, which should have been civilian. What has taken place is grave and serious, and we are prepared to take the necessary measures”.

The composition of the new government had barely been announced on ORTM airs when the situation in Bamako, Mali capital, suddenly became tense. Troop movements were observed at the Kati military camp, about 15 km from Bamako, as well as in several points of the capital.

According to our information, the President of the Transition, Bah N’Daw, as well as the Prime Minister, Moctar Ouane, were taken under military escort to Kati. Sources within the National Transition Council (CNT), Minusma and a West African diplomat confirmed this to Jeune Afrique online.

This sudden rise in tension comes after the announcement of the sidelining, in the Moctar Ouane II government, of two influential members of the former National Council for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), which led the putsch. of August 18, 2020 against Ibrahim Boubacar KeĂŻta (IBK).

Michel recieves new Ambassadors

Brussels 06.12.2020 The presentation of letters of credentials to the President of the European Council Charles Michel took place on December 4.
The President of the European Council Charles Michel received the letters of credentials of the following Ambassadors:
H.E Mr Mamadou Mandjou BERTHE, Ambassador, Head of Mission of Mali

H.E. Mr Jean Omer BERIZIKY, Ambassador, Head of Mission of the Republic of Madagascar

H.E. Mr Sutiawan GUNESSEE, Ambassador, Head of Mission of the Republic of Mauritius

H.E. Mr Abdelrahim Ahmed Khalil ELTAYEB, Ambassador, Head of Mission of the Republic of the Sudan

Sahel: EU debt relief efforts

Brussels 30.11.2020 The EU is committed to furthering international debt relief efforts for African countries. The Council today approved a set of conclusions in response to a call from the European Council of 15-16 October 2020 to prepare a common approach in this respect.

The conclusions highlight the increasing debt vulnerability in low income countries, particularly in Africa, and underscore the EU’s support for a coordinated international approach on debt relief efforts for African countries.

The Council welcomes the G20 – Paris Club Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), which offers a temporary debt moratorium to the poorest countries to help them manage the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its extension until 30 June 2021 with the possibility of a further extension by 6 months. It commits to a full and transparent implementation of this initiative.

The Council also recognises that for countries with unsustainable debt levels further debt relief may be required. It welcomes the G20 agreement on a “Common Framework for Debt Treatments beyond the DSSI” as a major step forward in the sovereign debt restructuring international architecture. In this context, it advocates the negotiation of debt restructuring where necessary, on a case-by-case basis, while ensuring strong conditionality on public financial management, anti-corruption frameworks and domestic resource mobilization in the context of an IMF programme.

The Council also stresses that debt transparency is critical for a sound assessment of debt sustainability, debtor government accountability, and to enable informed decisions for borrowers and creditors in the context of debt relief efforts. It takes the view that all public debt data should therefore be disclosed and supports international efforts aimed at strengthening debt transparency in low-income countries.

Michel addresses Nouakchott Summit

“I am not physically present at this time in Nouakchott but know that I am with all my heart with you“, said the President of the EU Council Charles Michel, addressing the Summit in Mauritania capital, Nouakchott via teleconference. In his speech “Alongside the G5 Sahel, the European Union keeps its commitments” he reiterated the message of support and determination of the EU to continue the strategy of joined international efforts to defend Sahel from criminal networks, and terrorism.

I naturally want to start by thanking you, in a friendly and warm way, dear President in office of the G5 Sahel, Mohamed Cheikh El Ghazouani. I would also like to thank the President of France, dear Emmanuel Macron, for joining me again in these essential exchanges. I also want to salute the participation of the different countries that join us. I see this as a sign of a dynamic that is encouraging.

The Pau Summit last January was an opportunity to give new impetus to our relations. It is up to us to transform the test, while the situation on the ground, as we know, remains difficult, remains worrying on different fronts. Violence has claimed some 4,500 lives in the Sahel in the past 6 months. And we know that the pandemic we are facing does not help the situation.

As you know, in January in Pau, we agreed to organize a G5 Sahel-EU summit. It took place virtually on April 28. It was an extension of our meeting in Pau. This April 28 Virtual Summit was a boost for our partnership. It was an opportunity to reaffirm our mutual responsibilities. It was an opportunity to re-mobilize all the European institutions and the Member States of the European Union. In a way, he “Europeanized” the Coalition for the Sahel. An additional step was taken with the Ministerial Conference on June 12 which “internationalized” this Coalition, which is naturally essential. I of course welcome the commitment of the United Nations, the African Union, ECOWAS, and the International Organization of La Francophonie.

Since the Pau Summit, we have made precise and very concrete progress. They are all testimony to this commitment that we want to strengthen alongside you:

– First, more and more European Member States are either already contributing or are going to contribute to Takuba, by deploying special forces or equipment, or by politically supporting this task force;

– Then, we have just adopted a new program to support Niger’s efforts in the fight against criminal networks linked to terrorism. You know that we were inspired for this by the excellent work of the Joint Investigation Teams which are already mobilized in the fight against the smuggling of migrants;

– The EU training mission in Mali (EUTM Mali) has seen its mandate extended and its budget reinforced. As I speak, 95% of the workforce requested has already been made available by the 22 out of 27 Member States participating. As soon as conditions allow, we will deploy the entire workforce;

– Finally, we reconstructed the Joint Force Command Post which has just been inaugurated in Bamako, two years after the attack which had destroyed the headquarters of SĂ©varĂ©;

– In addition, nearly 200 million euros in additional funding has been announced to strengthen security, stability and resilience in the region. And concrete projects are ready to be launched;

– The same dynamic is at work concerning support for the deployment of the State and basic services. This is the keystone, as we well know, for our stabilization efforts, with the P3S initiative [1]. The European Union will also coordinate it;

– You also know that we are working to update our strategy for the Sahel, in dialogue and of course taking into account your priorities;

– Finally, a word, Mr President, you mentioned it and we have discussed it together in recent months, concerning debts. You know that this is an issue that is close to my heart and for which I wish to take action. Because I consider this question legitimate, certainly at a time when your economies, your societies, are under pressure, a fortiori in connection with this crisis of COVID-19 which strikes us and strikes you.

I can hear your appeal on the subject of debt cancellation. You know that I am committed to being sincerely involved on this subject, and I do intend to open the debate. It is done, in the European space this debate has now started. Within the European Union, the ministers for international cooperation have taken up the subject – an important subject also for Heads of State and Government. I also intend to conduct this debate within the framework of our international contacts. I thus had the opportunity, in the last virtual summits in which we participated, with Japan, with China also a few days ago, to systematically put this point of debts on the agenda. Because we understand that this is an issue that must mobilize the entire international community.

I also know that we can also count on Italy, which will assume the presidency of the G20 next year, and which, I am sure, will have a positive outlook, in particular on the debt moratorium. It is a work of conviction to carry out. And it is my intention, modestly but tenaciously, to take my part on behalf of the European Union. Finally, dear friends, you know that my ambition, my hope, is to be able to organize a meeting between the countries of the European Union and the G5 Sahel in order to continue to address all the subjects. As you can see, European commitment is not an artificial incantation: it is a reality with commitments and concrete effects. We can and must build together an area of security and economic prosperity. We must build an area where good governance reigns, and where the rule of law and fundamental rights also prevail. And I would like to say that the rule of law is not a footnote. The strength and honor of a state governed by the rule of law is not to fall into the trap of violence from its enemies. It’s not to look like the ones we fight. It is to make justice prevail – the same for all, the same for everyone. A word to conclude. We agreed at our previous summit to meet again with the leaders of the G5 Sahel. I am sure that with President Ghazouani, we will have the opportunity to work actively with you, with all of our peers, to try to continue to progress together. You can count on the commitment of the European Union. We stand by your side. I send you from Brussels my sincere and friendly greetings to those who are physically present in Nouakchott”

G5 Sahel request of debt cancellation

The President of the European Council, HE Charles Michel and the President in office of the G5 Sahel, HE Mohamed Cheikh El Ghazouani, co-chaired today, April 28, 2020, a videoconference with all the Heads of State of the G5 Sahel , the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, and the EU High Representative Josep Borrell, in the presence of the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations and the President of the African Union Commission.

“During this videoconference, the leaders adopted a Joint Declaration by the members of the European Council with the member states of the G5 Sahel. The leaders agreed to continue joint efforts to expand the Coalition for the Sahel to other international partners.

“In view of the gravity of the situation in the G5 Sahel countries as well as their vulnerability to the spread of COVID-19, the co-Chairs stressed the urgency of effective solidarity from the international community in order to provide effective and sustainable response to the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, in Africa and in the Sahel in particular, in particular to limit the health and economic impact of this crisis.

“In this regard, the Co-Presidents wished to recall the Joint Declaration by the members of the European Council of 26 March 2020 and stressed the commitment of the European Union to international cooperation and to multilateral solutions to fight the pandemic and its consequences. The President of the European Council recalled that the European Union will do everything to help countries and communities to cope with the COVID-19 crisis, in particular to mitigate the negative socio-economic consequences of the crisis as well as to strengthen sustainability integrated global value and supply chains to adapt them as needed and to mitigate the negative socio-economic impacts of the crisis.

“The co-Chairs welcomed the appeal launched by several African and European leaders on April 15, 2020 – “Only a victory in Africa can end the pandemic everywhere“.

The co-Chairs welcomed the Declaration of the Extraordinary G5 Sahel Summit held on April 27, 2020, dedicated to the COVID-19 pandemic in the G5 Sahel area. They took note of the request by the G5 Sahel from the international community to take into account the requests of the G5 Sahel to face the COVID-19 crisis. They undertook to inform the members of the European Council, as well as international partners, with a view to examining the requests of African countries for the outright cancellation of the African debt, in response to the consequences of this meaningless pandemic. previous.

“The co-Chairs call on the international community to continue efforts to support the G5 Sahel countries in their efforts to combat the consequences of COVID-19.

“The Chairman-in-Office of the G5 Sahel wanted to express his appreciation for the European Union’s response to the international dimension of this unprecedented global crisis. He praised the memory of the thousands of victims of COVID-19 in recent weeks.

“The co-Chairs have agreed that a follow-up meeting, in the form of a videoconference, will be organized within three months“.

“As has been clarified by the Chadian authorities, President Idriss DĂ©by’s announcement does not call into question the commitment of their troops to regional military systems, in particular the G5 Sahel Joint Force.
We also welcome the Chadian contribution, alongside the other contingents, in the fight against terrorism in the region
The G5 Sahel, is and remains well, central in the fight against terrorism and in favor of security in the Sahel. It is the European Union’s reference partner in the region, and that’s the meaning of today’s high-level meeting”
said EU spokesperson in a comment after the video conference.

The comment followed the announcement of Chad President Idriss Deby to restrain from participation in combat operations of G5 Sahel outside the territory of the country.

On few occasions President Deby expressed his disappointment with feeble participation of international partners in counter-terrorist military operations.

At the eve of the meeting President Idriss DĂ©by called on his G5 Sahel peers to “make a choice”, saying that “the same meetings, the same meetings, the same debates, the same discussions, the same broken promises” had already taken place in the past.

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”.

Michel statement on Libya

“I would like to thank Chancellor Merkel, and the organisers of today’s conference, for your tireless work at this critical moment in the Libyan crisis” reads the statement of the EU Council president Charles Michel, issued after the Berlin Conferenece on Libya, which took place on Sunday, January 19.

It is encouraging to see the most influential regional and international partners come together in support of the UN-led efforts to find a political solution to the Libyan crisis.

As the EU has consistently stated, the only sustainable solution is through UN mediation efforts that put the needs of all Libyan people to the forefront.

I wish to reaffirm today the commitment of the European Union to the immediate cessation of hostilities in Libya in the interest of stability in its immediate neighborhood. We support the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Libya, and this in the interest of regional stability and prosperity – this is vital for Europe.

We have supported German-led mediation efforts launched last year in support of the UN peace process. I would like to pay special tribute to UN Special Representative Salame, who, under the authority of Secretary General Guterres, has made every effort to bring the parties to the negotiations table in order to find a political solution to the conflict.

We would like to encourage cooperation with the African Union and the League of Arab States.

In recent weeks, High Representative Borrell and I have worked to support the conclusion of a ceasefire and for the relaunch of the peace process.

We are committed to play an important role in the follow-up to the Berlin Conference. We represent Libya’s main economic partner and primary investor. Libyan youths look to Europe when they study abroad. Libya’s long term prosperity depends on these economic and cultural ties.

That is why the EU is gearing up to implement the outcome of the Berlin Conference. We are ready to mobilise our means where they are most needed.

In the short term, our contribution to the follow-up to this Conference, we are reflecting on how best to contribute to the monitoring of the ceasefire and the respect of the arms embargo. On the arms embargo, the EU was the only regional organisation to enforce it after 2016. We intend to continue that effort, working with our partners around this table, to cover all the corridors where the embargo is being violated.

In the longer term, as conditions allow, we hope to make progress in other areas of the proposed Conclusions:

political – to support a future national conference, the organisation of elections, and possible work on the constitution;
economic – actions focused on capacity building in national institutions, such as the National Oil Company, Central Bank and Libyan Investment Authority;
security sector reform (through our Common Security and Defence Policy instruments, including the existing civilian mission EUBAM);
and human rights – the EU wishes to bring its expertise.
The EU is ready to host a Senior Officials Meeting of the International Follow-up Committee tasked with implementing the Conference Conclusions. And we are ready to play an active role in the technical working groups created by this process.

Now it is time for all members of the international community to work together to consolidate the ceasefire and respect the UN arms embargo and also preserve the unity of Libya’s financial institutions on which the unity of the country itself depends.

In the past, we have shown unity on a number of these objectives. For example, thwarting illegal attempts to purchase oil outside the official circuit. In other areas, we should have done better, in particular, on the arms embargo, as highlighted by the UN in its reports.

Moving forward, we should also avoid unilateral actions, such as the signing of agreements, which exacerbate the conflict. I am aiming at the actions that are incompatible with international law and which create a pretext for external interference in the Libyan conflict. The European Union has taken an unambiguous position on this, with the conclusions of the European Council on 12 December 2019.

Today we are committed to the Berlin process and the UN mediation efforts that put the needs of the Libyan people first. Today is an important step, but much work remains to be done. We are ready to contribute.

Michel discusses Libya with Al-Sisi

Charles Michel, President of the European Council met with Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, President of Egypt, in Cairo.

The crisis in Libya was at the core of their discussion. President Michel reiterated that a political process is the only way forward and the Libyans should be at the heart of defining their future. Both expressed support for the Berlin process and UN initiatives which are key to reaching a political solution.

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