– As delivered –
I speak on behalf of the EU and its member states.
Let me start by emphasising the importance the EU and its Member States attach to marking the fifty year anniversary of the establishment of the OAU. We also welcome, Mr. President, your initiative to organise a debate on the matter.
The resolve of Africa to take responsibility for its own peace and security has been strongly supported by the EU from the outset. In 2004, the African Peace Facility (APF) was established in response to a request by African leaders. Through the APF, the EU is at the forefront of the international support to the African Peace and Security agenda, providing in parallel to EU political backing, substantial and predictable funding to African peace support operations and relevant capacity building activities (more than 1 billion € through the APF). The strategic approach of the APF is defined on the basis of African ownership, solidarity and Africa-EU partnership.
Allow me to focus now on what the EU has been trying to achieve in concrete terms when it comes to supporting the peaceful resolution of conflicts in Africa: the EU Comprehensive Approach.
Piracy, Somalia and Horn of Africa
The EU has been at the forefront of international action in stabilizing Somalia and addressing the threat presented by the Shebaab. The EU is supporting Somali authorities to address these challenges from a security point of view but also with economic (equating to €412m for 2008-2013) and political support.
The EU has also been leading international efforts to tackle piracy off the Horn of Africa, a phenomenon with an inadmissible both human and economic toll.
But we cannot be complacent. Piracy is a highly complex issue. Military efforts alone will not eliminate it, which is why we are increasingly focusing on legal, political and diplomatic efforts and development assistance.
Sahel, Mali and Guinea Bissau
Turning now to Mali and the Sahel, time has long played in favour of terrorist and criminal groups. It is not the case anymore, thanks to those actors (France, Chad and other important players) who are taking the battle against terrorists. These efforts paved the way for the EU Training Mission which deployed on 18 February and in parallel the amount of €50M has been made available for AFISMA. The EU will provide assistance to the electoral process and is examining the possibility of an Electoral Observation Mission. Finally, we are resuming development aid (€250M) and a High Level Conference on Development in Mali (organised by France, the EU and Mali) will be convened in mid-May in Brussels.
Today, the EU looks forward to the implementation of the just adopted UNSC Resolution on Mali and stands ready to provide support to MINUSMA. We are all conscious that solving Mali’s problems requires an approach that encompasses the whole Sahel region. Since 2011, in close coordination with Mali, Niger and Mauritania, the EU has been implementing the EU Strategy for Security and Development in the Sahel.
Likewise, the EU has been actively engaged in Guinea Bissau. The Joint Assessment Mission (AU/CPLP/ECOWAS/EU/UN) to the country provided an excellent opportunity for dialogue with several key interlocutors. We will work further with the other partners regarding the stabilization process in Guinea-Bissau.
In the context of the wider Central African region, it is worth highlighting briefly the EU’s support to the Economic Community of Central African States’ (ECCAS) efforts towards peace and stability in the Central African Republic. Since 2004, the EU has funded ECCAS MICOPAX peace-support operation through the APF to the tune of more than €102M.
DRC, Great lakes
Finally, turning to the Great Lakes region and the DRC in particular, we consider that there is now a unique opportunity to address problems in the region in a comprehensive manner with regional and international actors.
The European External Action Service will soon put forward a comprehensive strategy for the Great Lakes region. Over the last decade, the EU has been a key partner of the DRC in the field of Security Sector Reform (EUSEL and EUPOL) but also through development programmes.
The EU reaffirms the RtoP concept as enshrined in the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document as the reference point for our efforts to make prevention and response to atrocities a reality on the ground. We underline the primary responsibility of States to protect their populations and the role of the international community in encouraging and helping States, including through capacity-building, to meet their primary responsibility.
Before concluding, let me also recall that there can be no security without development and no development without security. Development, peace and security, and human rights are interlinked and mutually reinforcing. And key to securing these linkages is the rule of law which is a fundamental building block to conflict prevention and sustainable peace and security.
Africa is making great efforts to pull itself out of poverty, promoting economic growth that is initiated and sustained domestically. Despite overall progress with regard to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), sub-Saharan Africa is still facing challenges in several areas. Hence, with Africa in the lead, we must continue our common efforts, focusing on the most off-track MDGs and the most vulnerable. In the run-up to 2015 the EU is determined to make every effort to reach the MDGs.
To conclude Mr. President,
The relationship between Africa and the EU is strong. As a concrete sign of our vibrant partnership, the AU Commission and the European Commission are meeting today in Addis under the joint chairmanship of HE Dr DLAMINI ZUMA, Chairperson of the AUC, and Mr Jose Manuel BARROSO, President of the EC for their 6th annual College-to-College session to pave the road for the upcoming Africa-EU summit in 2014.
Thank you for your attention.