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Sommaire: November 14, 2002: Commission and Eritrea sign Country Strategy Paper and EUR 96.8 million co-operation programme (Brussels)
The European Commission and Eritrea today signed a Country Strategy Paper (CSP) and Indicative Programme outlining the EU's co-operation programme for the next five years (2002 - 2007). The main aim of the programme is to support efforts by Eritrea to reduce poverty and promote economic and social development. It provides €88 million to be spent on post-conflict rehabilitation and demobilization. An additional sum of €8.8 million may be drawn on for unforeseen needs such as emergency assistance, debt relief and compensation for loss of export earnings. These non-repayable funds have been allocated from the 9th European Development Fund (EDF). The co-operation strategy is based on the principles of ownership and partnership of the Cotonou Agreement, signed in Benin in June 2000.
The EC response strategy puts emphasis on a short-term approach and has identified the following three areas of concentration: 1) Post-conflict rehabilitation programme including humanitarian aid and reconstruction of social and transport infrastructure in the war-affected areas as well as de-mining. 2) Support for demobilization and reintegration of the war-affected population that will help to restore macro-economic stability and to draw on the potentials of the country. 3) Support to the development of long-term strategies in the sectors (food security, transport, education) identified as the key structural constraints for development.
The CSP takes into account lessons learnt from past EC-Eritrea co-operation programmes and, in particular, the need to reinforce co-ordination with other donors, in particular EU Member States, to ensure programmes complement each other.
Achieving a sustainable and irreversible peace and the normalization of Eritrea's relations with its neighbors can only be the result of a longer process. The EC strategy for Eritrea is therefore based on the Government's own pace of reconstruction, whilst intending to prepare the ground for long-term development
Eritrea, only independent since 1993, has been confronted with a major humanitarian crisis as a result of not just natural phenomena but also conflict. This crisis has hampered and partially interrupted the process of recovery, which had got off to a good start following the thirty-year struggle for independence. It has also delayed the track of reforms and the development and adoption of a long-term poverty reduction strategy.
A series of events took place in September 2001 that led to the freezing of new commitments and development co-operation was stalled. There have, however, recently been important steps from both sides to overcome this impasse and it has been agreed that a political dialogue will start aiming to reconcile differences. The signature of this CSP should be seen in this light. Its practical implementation will be conditioned on the success of this dialogue.
Country Strategy Papers were introduced in 2001 as part of a wider programme of Commission reforms in the field of External Assistance. Their purpose is to improve the coherence of the policy toward third countries, particularly, to ensure a match between political priorities and spending on development assistance. CSPs are developed in collaboration with national governments, Member States, other donors, and, where possible, with representatives of civil society.
For background information on EC relations with Eritrea, see: