Tag Archives: European Council

Mozambique: EU allocates €45M

Brussels 21.04.2022 Today the Council adopted a decision amending the assistance measure for support to the Mozambican Armed Forces under the European Peace Facility (EPF) adopted in November 2021, adding a further amount of €45 million. This additional support brings overall EPF support for Mozambique to €89 million in total.

The assistance measure aims to strengthen EU support for capacity building and the deployment of the units of the Mozambican Armed Forces trained by the EU Training Mission in Mozambique (EUTM Mozambique). This support consists of the provision of integrated packages of equipment and supplies in conjunction with EU training missions. The aim is to ensure that the training is as efficient and effective as possible, enabling EUTM-trained troops to be fully operational and self-sufficient upon deployment.

Through this assistance measure, the EU will finance equipment to benefit the eleven Mozambican companies to be trained by the EUTM, including individual and collective equipment, ground mobility assets, as well as a field hospital.

The European Peace Facility was established in March 2021 to finance all Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) actions in military and defence areas, with the aim of preventing conflict, preserving peace and strengthening international security and stability. In particular, the European Peace Facility allows the EU to finance actions designed to strengthen the capacities of third states and regional and international organisations as regards military and defence matters.

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.

Mali: EU five individual sanctions

Brussels 04.02.2022 Mali: EU adopts targeted sanctions against five individuals: Malick Diaw, Ismaël Wagué, Choguel Maïga, Ibrahim Ikassa Maïga, Adama Ben Diarra, known as Camarade Ben Le Cerveau.

The Council decided today to impose restrictive measures on five individuals in view of the situation in Mali, following its decision of 13 December 2021 and recent developments in the country.

These individuals, which include prominent members of the Malian Transition Government, are responsible for actions that “obstruct and undermine” the successful completion of Mali’s political transition, the document underlines. The names are published in the EU Official Journal: Malick Diaw, a key member of Colonel Assimi Goïta’s inner circle; Colonel-Major Ismaël Wagué, a member of inner circle; Prime Minister since June 2021, Choguel Maïga, who led the Transition Government; Ibrahim Ikassa Maïga member of the strategic committee of M5-RFP; and Adama Ben Diarra, known as Camarade Ben Le Cerveau, is one of the young leaders of the M5-RFP.

The five designated people are subject to a travel ban, which prevents them from entering or transiting through EU territories, and an asset freeze. Moreover, EU citizens and companies are forbidden from making funds available to them, either directly or indirectly.

The EU continues to stand with the people of the Sahel and reaffirms its full commitment to strict compliance with the rule of law, human rights and international humanitarian law in Mali.

On 24 and 25 May 2021, the European Council adopted conclusions in which it strongly condemned the coup d’état which took place in Mali on 24 May 2021, and stated that the EU was ready to consider targeted restrictive measures. On 29 June the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 2584 (2021), in which it also condemned the coup and called on all Malian stakeholders to facilitate a full political transition and handover of power to elected civilian authorities within the 18-month transition period. It also called on Mali’s transitional government to hold free and fair presidential and legislative elections.

On 7 November, ECOWAS deplored the lack of progress made in the preparations for the elections, decided to impose sanctions with immediate effect, and called on international partners to endorse and support the implementation of the sanctions.

On 13 December, the Council set up an autonomous framework for sanctions against those responsible for threatening the peace, security or stability of Mali, or for obstructing the implementation of its political transition.

On 8 January 2022, Mali’s Transition Authorities submitted to the ECOWAS a new calendar scheduling the conduct of the presidential elections for the end of December 2025, thus setting the duration of the transition for a total of five and a half years, contrary to the agreement reached with ECOWAS on 15 September 2020 and the commitment in the Transition Charter. In light of that, on 9 January 2022, ECOWAS decided to impose additional economic sanctions.

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.

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.