Tag Archives: EUCO

#EUCO: Africa high on agenda

The European Council taking place in Brussels on October 15-16 will also discuss EU-Africa relations. At present the EU and the African countries and cooperate through multiple frameworks such as:
the Cotonou agreement; the joint Africa-EU strategy; and in addition to these frameworks, the Council has adopted three regional strategies for the: Horn of Africa; Gulf of Guinea; and Sahel.
Africa-EU relations also take place through formal dialogues, such as the EU-Africa summits.

At present the centre of attention of the EU leaders will be focused on the post-Cotonou agreement is the overarching framework for EU relations with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. It covers the EU’s relations with 79 countries, including 48 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“The #EUCO will discuss, among other things, resetting & deepening the EU- Africa Partnership” Commissioner in charge of international partnerships Jutta Urpilainen wrote on her Twitter micro blog. “We need to invest in the infrastructures and digitalisation – and in education, which, of course, is the key if we want to increase the employment rate.”

Flèche vers la droite”We need to invest in the infrastructures & digitalisation – and in education, which, of course, is the key if we want to increase the employment rate.”

The joint Africa-EU strategy was adopted in 2007 as the formal channel for EU relations with African countries. This strategy was agreed by the African Union and EU institutions, as well as by African and EU countries. It is implemented through periodical action plans. In 2014, EU and African countries agreed on the roadmap for 2014-2017. This roadmap sets out five key priorities and areas for joint action.

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”.

Sahel meeting in Paris postponed

Today at doorstep of the European Council  in Brussels French President Macron announced the a postponement to early 2020 of a meeting of Sahel countries, he said.

I made the decision yesterday with President Issoufou to postpone” the summit “because of the many deaths that Niger unfortunately suffered two days ago,” said Emmanuel Macron on Thursday upon his arrival at the European Council in Brussels.

The decision to postpone the event, which was to address French military presence in the region as well as the fight against terrorsit groups engaged in jihad, follows an attack on a remote military camp in Niger.

Islamist militants killed 71 soldiers in an attack on a military camp located near the border with Mali, an army spokesman said on Wednesday, in the deadliest raid against the Nigerien military in living memory.

AMENDED:

The attack on the the military camp near border with Mali lasted three hours, and claimed lives of 71 soldiers, and forced President Mahamadou Issoufou to shorten his trip to Egypt.

Announced  early December by the French head of state at the end of the NATO summit in London, the African event was aimed to bring together the leaders of the G5 Sahel (Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad) and clarify the framework of intervention of France in the region.

“It is a need that responds to the observation of growing incomprehension in national public opinion, in the Sahel and in France,” said a source at the Elysée Palace. “You have to be able to come out of this summit with a common expression that recalls why France is there to support.”

Launched in August 2014, Operation Barkhane mobilizes some 4,500 French soldiers against the jihadist groups active in the region, soldiers called to be replaced by G5 Sahel force made up of 5,000 men from the local armies.

But in recent years, the French presence and that of 13,000 Blue Helmets of the MINUSMA  in Mali have been questioned by inhabitants and militants who denounce “occupation forces”.

EU transfers €500m to Fund for Africa

The EU leaders, gathering in Brussels for Summit (28-29 June) devoted to resolution of migration crisis, agreed to transfer 500 million euro from the 11th EDF reserve to the
EU Trust Fund for Africa. They called upon further contributions to the EU Trust Fund for Africa with a view to its replenishment.

Tackling the migration problem at its core requires a partnership with Africa aiming at a
substantial socio-economic transformation of the African continent building upon the
principles and objectives as defined by the African countries in their Agenda 2063.

“European Union and its Member States must rise to this challenge. We need to take the extent and the equality of our cooperation with Africa to a new level” – the endorsed document says.

This will not only require increased development funding but also steps towards creating a new framework enabling a substantial increase of private investment from both Africans and Europeans. Particular focus should be laid on education, health, infrastructure, innovation, good governance and women’s empowerment.

“Africa is our neighbour and this must be expressed by increased exchanges
and contacts amongst the peoples of both continents on all levels of civil society. Cooperation between the European Union and the African Union is an important element of our relationship” – says the Summit conclusion signed by the European leaders.

The European Council calls for further developing and promoting it.

Tajani promotes Marshall plan for Africa

The president of the European Parliament  Antonio Tajani stressed the need for an EU strategy of migration management at the start of a European Council (22-23 March) summit.

 ”If we fail to come up with an EU strategy, we will continue to play into the hands of the populists” – Tajani said.

President Tajani informed EU heads of government that citizens have been waiting “for too long” answers to the problem of  migration management.. He suggested that the efforts used to close the Balkan route should also be applied to other Mediterranean routes.

The tragedy of the 18-year old girl murdered by a gang of Nigerians aggravated the issue of migrants in Italy, and, according to Tajani, dominated the headlines, influencing the outcome of the general elections.  ”If we fail to come up with an EU strategy, we will continue to play into the hands of the populists” – Tajani added.

Putting forward the asylum reform proposal, adopted in November 2017 by the European Parliament,  Tajani requested the EU leaders to act without delay, even with qualified majority, in case the consensus can not be reached.

The European Parliament calls for Marshall Plan for Africa to give hope to millions of Africans to create new opportunities.

The President called on the Council to act on plans for asylum reform, more resources for Frontex, more reception centres, as well as more investment in Tunisia, Morocco, Niger, Mali, Chad and Libya to improve border controls and combat people traffickers.

Tajani called for closer cooperation with the UN in issues of asylum seekers and returns.