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Burkina: One Old Regime Down, More to Fall?

27-11-2014

The resignation of Burkina Faso's president Blaise Compaoré in October 2014 should not have come as a surprise. The interplay of several political and socioeconomic factors led to his fall. International actors followed the events closely and urged a consensual approach in the transition negotiations. The role of the military has been central to the changes; it should be watched carefully in the coming months. A civilian president, a prime minister hailing from the Presidential Guard, a 26-member ...

The resignation of Burkina Faso's president Blaise Compaoré in October 2014 should not have come as a surprise. The interplay of several political and socioeconomic factors led to his fall. International actors followed the events closely and urged a consensual approach in the transition negotiations. The role of the military has been central to the changes; it should be watched carefully in the coming months. A civilian president, a prime minister hailing from the Presidential Guard, a 26-member government and a 90-member transitional council will steer the country until the elections, scheduled for November 2015. Events in Burkina Faso are followed in other African countries, where long-standing leaders are also likely to try to stay in power. Burkina, one of the world's poorest countries, needs a genuine transition to ensure a more inclusive and resilient future.

Commitments Made at the Hearing of Christos Stylianides - Commissioner-Designate

14-11-2014

Christos Stylianides, the recently-confirmed European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, appeared before the European Parliament's Committee on Development (DEVE) on 30 September 2014 to answer MEPs' questions. In that hearing and in his answers to the questionnaire prepared for the meeting in advance, Commissioner Stylianides made a number of statements of interest to the European Parliament. This document provides a summary of his most salient points.

Christos Stylianides, the recently-confirmed European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, appeared before the European Parliament's Committee on Development (DEVE) on 30 September 2014 to answer MEPs' questions. In that hearing and in his answers to the questionnaire prepared for the meeting in advance, Commissioner Stylianides made a number of statements of interest to the European Parliament. This document provides a summary of his most salient points.

Commitments Made at the Hearings of the Commissioners-Designate, Juncker Commission (November 2014 - October 2019)

14-11-2014

This compilation of briefings presents the most salient points and essential commitments made by the commissioners-designate during the hearings held in September/October 2014 before the parliamentary committees. These commitments concern the main on-going legislative procedures, the preparation of future legislative proposals as well as the scrutiny of the implementation of existing legislation. They also touch upon the crucial issue of inter-institutional cooperation.

This compilation of briefings presents the most salient points and essential commitments made by the commissioners-designate during the hearings held in September/October 2014 before the parliamentary committees. These commitments concern the main on-going legislative procedures, the preparation of future legislative proposals as well as the scrutiny of the implementation of existing legislation. They also touch upon the crucial issue of inter-institutional cooperation.

Humanitarian Aid: Crises, Trends, Challenges

26-08-2014

As the humanitarian community prepares for the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit to be held in Istanbul, Turkey, in May 2016, the backdrop is far from easy. The scale of natural and man-made disasters is daunting, vulnerability and fragility are increasing, funding shortfalls become constant, operating environments grow increasingly problematic, and the humanitarian system itself remains highly complex despite multiple waves of reform. Although humanitarian action has become more effective over ...

As the humanitarian community prepares for the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit to be held in Istanbul, Turkey, in May 2016, the backdrop is far from easy. The scale of natural and man-made disasters is daunting, vulnerability and fragility are increasing, funding shortfalls become constant, operating environments grow increasingly problematic, and the humanitarian system itself remains highly complex despite multiple waves of reform. Although humanitarian action has become more effective over the years, actors must continue to search for ways to better prevent and prepare for disasters, and to respond in a manner that is more flexible and better adapted to new realities and the needs of afflicted populations while alleviating suffering, maintaining dignity and saving lives - the ultimate objective of humanitarian work. The EU has been a key player in international humanitarian policy. It has substantial clout in shaping future humanitarian action on a wide range of issues. These include principled and needs-based action, enhanced disaster preparedness and management, resilience-building, partnerships with non-traditional actors and emerging donors, innovative approaches and greater effectiveness and accountability, for both EU and international efforts. The European Parliament has several options to participate actively in these discussions and play a formative role in shaping humanitarian outcomes.

Insecurity in Context: The Rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria

24-07-2014

As the Boko Haram terrorist group wages war on a widening range of targets in Nigeria, the inefficiency of the country’s government has been starkly revealed – along with the urgent need for deep-cutting political and socio-economic reforms to counter a growing sense of insecurity. The north has been particularly hard-hit, with poor governance, omnipresent corruption and worsening social indicators compounding the security problem. Boko Haram, originally a peaceful Islamist movement, has moved progressively ...

As the Boko Haram terrorist group wages war on a widening range of targets in Nigeria, the inefficiency of the country’s government has been starkly revealed – along with the urgent need for deep-cutting political and socio-economic reforms to counter a growing sense of insecurity. The north has been particularly hard-hit, with poor governance, omnipresent corruption and worsening social indicators compounding the security problem. Boko Haram, originally a peaceful Islamist movement, has moved progressively towards militant extremism since 2009, regularly attacking Nigerians and foreigners, Christians and Muslims, northerners and even residents of the capital, troops and civilians, in an effort to destabilise the state. For a number of years the group was treated as an internal Nigerian problem. However, Boko Haram’s illicit and armed activities increasingly take place across the country’s borders. When more than 200 girls were kidnapped in the town of Chibok in April 2014, it was clear that neighbouring countries and the international community would need to coordinate their efforts. In addition to launching a direct response to the security threat, the Nigerian government must address a wide range of grievances to eliminate the root causes of the insurgency in the long term. This has proved a daunting task in the past, and the issue is currently politically delicate: the country is readying itself for the 2015 presidential elections, which are expected to be fiercely contested.

Mediterranean Flows into Europe: Migration and the EU's Foreign Policy

12-03-2014

A series of heartrending stories from Europe’s southern shores – near the Italian island of Lampedusa, in the Greek waters of the Aegean Sea, at the Spanish enclave of Ceuta – have brought Mediterranean migration to the top of the political agenda. EU leaders have emphasised the need for policies treating migration to be guided by the principles of 'prevention, protection and solidarity'. The Mediterranean Task Force, established in October 2013, has suggested 38 ways to prevent further loss of life ...

A series of heartrending stories from Europe’s southern shores – near the Italian island of Lampedusa, in the Greek waters of the Aegean Sea, at the Spanish enclave of Ceuta – have brought Mediterranean migration to the top of the political agenda. EU leaders have emphasised the need for policies treating migration to be guided by the principles of 'prevention, protection and solidarity'. The Mediterranean Task Force, established in October 2013, has suggested 38 ways to prevent further loss of life. But beyond these immediate responses, the EU must engage in a broader and longer-term debate on the ways that migration is addressed by its different external policies – those touching on security, development cooperation, the neighbourhood policy and international protection. The European Parliament can play an important role by promoting a dialogue about migration with third countries. This discussion, which should be pursued through interparliamentary as well as inter-institutional discussions, may lead to stronger cooperation in the management of regular migration and a more effective fight against irregular migration. Whilst the Parliament should demand that all EU and third countries' policies fully respect human rights, it should also consider Mediterranean migration in a wider context and highlight the positive potential of human mobility for socioeconomic development.

Food Security in a Just Food System

08-11-2013

Hundreds of millions of people live in food insecurity, lacking nutritious food and the means to develop their resilience to natural and man-made disasters and shocks. Obstacles to improving the situation are numerous and include climate change and resource scarcity, poor regulations and rights-based considerations, insufficient human and technical capacities and training. Nevertheless, it is possible to produce enough food for all and to build a more sustainable and just food system. For this to ...

Hundreds of millions of people live in food insecurity, lacking nutritious food and the means to develop their resilience to natural and man-made disasters and shocks. Obstacles to improving the situation are numerous and include climate change and resource scarcity, poor regulations and rights-based considerations, insufficient human and technical capacities and training. Nevertheless, it is possible to produce enough food for all and to build a more sustainable and just food system. For this to happen, small-scale, sustainable agriculture must be developed and strengthened. Private finance across the food system will play an increasingly important role in this process. But for the livelihood and resilience of agricultural producers to be ensured, investments must be responsible and combined with targeted and inclusive initiatives.

Can the Central African Republic Escape its Violent Past?

04-06-2013

The security situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) remains volatile two months after the rebel Séléka coalition seized the capital and forced the country's former president into exile. Rampant violations of humanitarian and human rights law exacerbate the suffering of the population. The Séléka takeover ushered in a total collapse of the rule of law and fundamental institutions such as the justice system, law enforcement apparatus, public administration and social services. Under the tutelage ...

The security situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) remains volatile two months after the rebel Séléka coalition seized the capital and forced the country's former president into exile. Rampant violations of humanitarian and human rights law exacerbate the suffering of the population. The Séléka takeover ushered in a total collapse of the rule of law and fundamental institutions such as the justice system, law enforcement apparatus, public administration and social services. Under the tutelage of the Economic Community of Central African States, a National Transitional Council was set up in April to serve as a governing body and constituent assembly for the next 18 months. French and regional forces are on the ground, and the UN is monitoring the developments through its Integrated Peace Building Office in the Central African Republic. Yet the deepening crisis is likely to require stronger and more concerted efforts — both domestic and international — to ensure that the country's tragic history of violence does not repeat itself.

Coup in the Central African Republic: Chronicle of a Fall Foretold

27-03-2013

After a coalition of rebels entered the capital of the Central African Republic on 24 March, President François Bozizé fled to Cameroon. Bangui, the capital, was plunged into chaos, and the situation there remains volatile. Capping years of violent conflict, an offensive by rebel forces destabilised the country in 2012. Under international pressure, a ceasefire was brokered in January 2013, bringing a short-lived unity government to power. Following the coup, the African Union suspended the Central ...

After a coalition of rebels entered the capital of the Central African Republic on 24 March, President François Bozizé fled to Cameroon. Bangui, the capital, was plunged into chaos, and the situation there remains volatile. Capping years of violent conflict, an offensive by rebel forces destabilised the country in 2012. Under international pressure, a ceasefire was brokered in January 2013, bringing a short-lived unity government to power. Following the coup, the African Union suspended the Central African Republic's membership and imposed sanctions on rebel leaders. The EU, UN, and US have all condemned the violent coup, while remaining silent on the status of the unpopular ousted president. Even before the latest rebellion, the country faced a deepening humanitarian crisis. It is essential that public order and stability are restored and that the risk of regional spillover contained. The country's new self-proclaimed President, Michel Djotodia, has pledged to maintain a power-sharing government. He will need to create a wider, inclusive political and economic model to achieve lasting stability.

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