- The traditional agro-pastoral economy has been destabilised
- Poverty eradication is key to sustainable peace
- Call for the European Peace Facility to be swiftly adopted
Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs point to an array of challenges with which countries in the Sahel region, West Africa and Horn of Africa struggle to cope.
Climate change, population growth, food insecurity or uncontrolled exploitation of natural resources are just some of the challenges that many African countries struggle to cope with, warned MEPs in the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
It all leads to destabilisation of the traditional agro-pastoral economy, which, combined with weak institutions and a lack of trust in government, results in religious extremism, concluded MEPs in a report on EU-African security cooperation in the Sahel region, West Africa and the Horn of Africa, adopted on Monday.
Addressing the root causes of the conflicts
They recall that the fight against terrorism depends on the states concerned having strong and reliable institutions as well as established basic services, including an internal security infrastructure and a justice system, in particular on criminal matters, in which citizens have confidence. A security strategy for the Sahel, West Africa and Horn of Africa regions must first and foremost address the root causes of the conflicts in the region as poverty eradication is key to sustainable peace, say MEPS.
MEPs call for the promotion of a renewed relationship between the EU and the African continent based on solidarity, mutual respect and mutual benefit, adhering always to the principles of respect for international law, national sovereignty and equality between parties.
Call for adoption of the European Peace Facility
MEPs also called for the European Peace Facility to be swiftly adopted and implemented, making the EU missions more effective and strengthening EU partners’ capacity building in the security sector. The European institutions should have a stronger mandate to provide the means and to take the measures necessary to improve the security situation whilst ensuring the respect of human rights and international humanitarian law, they stress.
The rapporteur Javier Nart (Renew, ES) said : "Without development we cannot have security. In order to ensure security, the local armed forces have to be trained and equipped absolutely and effectively, without some of the constraints that have hitherto existed. The European Peace Facility is essential for this."
The report is the result of a broad consensus of the majority of the groups in the Parliament and was adopted with 49 votes for, 6 against and 14 abstentions.
The European Union has conducted several military and civilian missions in the region, but after years of being involved there, the general situation continues to worsen. MEPs are calling for a new and comprehensive strategy, as the EU missions have been hampered due to restrictions on their mandate, training programmes, and a lack of basic equipment, including weapons and ammunition.