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Parliamentary questions
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15 September 2020
Answer given by Ms Urpilainen
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-003753/2020

Since December 2018, the EU has been engaging with Eritrea based on the so-called ‘dual track approach’. This focuses on strengthening the political dialogue with the country’s government, notably encouraging political and economic reforms and improvement of human rights, whilst pursuing development cooperation.

The EU-funded project ‘Reconnecting Eritrea and Ethiopia through rehabilitation of the main arterial roads in Eritrea’ is implemented by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).

Reimbursement of costs of materials will happen in tranches, based on a methodology that is also used in EU-funded works contracts in development countries: UNOPS will assess and confirm the quality and quantity of the materials used by verifying reports issued by the Ministry of Public Works (MoPW) and measuring the number of kilometres completed to the agreed standards.

UNOPS will receive, confirm and validate withdrawal requests based on the completeness of the documentation provided by the Red Sea Trading Corporation (RSTC — acting as the Central Procurement Authority for the Government of Eritrea), and make payments to RSTC.

In case of non-compliance or lack of clarity, additional documentation may be requested. Site visits are to be organised at least every four months and/or as required. Progress reports will be submitted to UNOPS and the EU every four months.

UNOPS will reimburse the cost of materials by transferring funds to the RSTC into a dedicated project bank account used exclusively for the project. Both contractual arrangements between EU and UNOPS and UNOPS and RSTC include anti‐corruption provisions, as well as clauses allowing for the termination of contract on grounds of breach of contractual obligations.

Following the ‘no more roads’ approach, the recently approved EUTF(1) EUR 19.7 million for Eritrea has been allocated to new programmes to support the implementation of the Universal Periodic Review Recommendations, diaspora engagement, justice administration, and economic growth.

(1)Emergency Trust Fund.
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