Procedure : 2006/2291(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A6-0146/2007

Texts tabled :

A6-0146/2007

Debates :

PV 09/05/2007 - 20
CRE 09/05/2007 - 19

Votes :

PV 10/05/2007 - 7.9
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2007)0180

REPORT     
PDF 239kWORD 158k
18 April 2007
PE 386.493v02-00 A6-0146/2007

on the Horn of Africa: EU Regional political partnership for peace, security and development

(2006/2291(INI))

Committee on Development

Rapporteur: Filip Kaczmarek

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
 PROCEDURE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on the Horn of Africa: EU Regional political partnership for peace, security and development

(2006/2291(INI))

The European Parliament,

–    having regard to the EU strategy 'The EU and Africa: Towards a Strategic Partnership' (The European Strategy for Africa), adopted by the European Council of 15-16 December 2005(1),

–    having regard to the Joint statement by the Council and the representatives of the governments of the Member States meeting within the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission on European Union Development Policy: 'The European Consensus' (The European Consensus on Development) signed on 20 December 2005(2),

–    having regard to the Partnership Agreement between the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, of the one part, and the Community and its Member States, of the other part, signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000(3), as amended by the Agreement amending the Partnership Agreement, signed in Luxembourg on 25 June 2005(4) (the Cotonou Agreement), in particular Article 8 thereof,

-   having regard to the EU Strategy to combat the illicit accumulation of and trafficking in small arms and light weapons (SALW) and their ammunition, adopted by the European Council of 15-16 December 2005(5),

–    having regard to the Commission Communication entitled 'Strategy for Africa: An EU regional political partnership for peace, security and development in the Horn of Africa' (COM(2006)0601),

–    having regard to its resolutions on Darfur, in particular those of 15 February 2007(6), 28 September 2006(7), 6 April 2006(8), 23 June 2005(9) and 16 September 2004(10),

–    having regard to UN Security Council Resolution 1706(2006)(11) proposing a 22 000-strong peace-keeping force for Darfur,

–    having regard to the Darfur Peace Agreement signed in Abuja, Nigeria, on 5 May 2006,

–    having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is binding and applicable without exception,

–    having regard to the outcome of the General Affairs and External Relations Council of 12-13 February 2007,

–    having regard to its resolution of 6 July 2006 on Somalia(12),

–    having regard to the Presidency Conclusions of the European Council of 14-15 December 2006,

–    having regard to the Conclusions of the General Affairs and External Relations Council on Sudan/Darfur of 5 March 2007,

–    having regard to its resolution of 6 April 2006 on aid effectiveness and corruption in developing countries(13),

–    having regard to Rule 45 of its Rules of Procedure,

–    having regard to the report of the Committee on Development and the opinion of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A6-0146/2007),

A.     whereas, at the Second EU-Africa Summit, to be held in Lisbon in 2007, the Heads of State and Government are to approve a Joint EU-Africa Strategy which would represent the EU's commitment to transforming the EU Strategy for Africa into a Joint EU-Africa Strategy; whereas Parliament has so far not been included in the consultation,

B.     whereas the Commission's Communication 'Strategy for Africa: An EU regional partnership for peace, security and development in the Horn of Africa' builds on the concept of the interlinked security and development issues, stating that there is no development without lasting peace and there is no lasting peace without development, and further aims to serve as a guidance in the formulation of Country and Regional Strategy Papers,

C.     whereas the European Strategy for Africa is aimed at setting up a comprehensive, long-term framework for EU relations with the African continent, with the primary goal of achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and promoting sustainable development, security and good governance in Africa,

D.     whereas Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement provides a framework for conducting a political dialogue on specific political issues of mutual concern or of general significance to the parties, and provides that broadly based policies to promote peace and prevent, manage and resolve violent conflicts are to play a prominent role in this dialogue,

E.     whereas Article 11 of the Cotonou Agreement entitled 'Peace-building policies, conflict prevention and resolution' stipulates that the parties shall pursue a comprehensive, integrated policy of peace-building and conflict prevention and resolution with a particular focus on building regional, sub-regional and national capacities,

Security dimension

F.     whereas the Horn of Africa is one of the most conflict-prone regions in the world as well as being one of the poorest, with a systematic insecurity in which conflicts and political crises feed into and fuel one another, with difficult inter-State relations, unstable, disputed, underdeveloped and insecure borders, with States providing refuge, rearguard bases, military support and diplomatic recognition to groups fighting wars in neighbouring states,

G.     whereas the root causes of conflicts are generally human rights violations, the absence of democracy and the rule of law, bad governance and corruption, ethnic tensions, inefficient administration, organised crime and drugs and arms trafficking and the uncontrolled and illegal proliferation of light and small weapons, as well as poverty, unemployment and social, economic and political injustices and inequalities, rapid population growth and poor or bad management and/or exploitation of natural resources,

H.     whereas the conflicts in the Horn of Africa have taken on regional dimensions with the involvement of neighbouring and other countries, and also an increasingly broader international dimension,

Regional frameworks and external actors

I.      whereas the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is a central part of the political and security architecture and crucial to conflict prevention in the Horn and is the only sub-regional organisation of which Somalia is a member,

J.      whereas the African Union (AU) is developing capacities to engage in conflict mediation and peace-keeping and whereas the African Peace Facility is one of the most tangible aspect of EU cooperation with the AU,

Development dimensions

K.     whereas the constant instability of the region undermines its political, social and economic development and represents one of the main impediments to achieving the MDGs,

L.     whereas the countries of the Horn of Africa belong to different regional economic organisations and initiatives such as the East Africa Community (EAC)(14) , the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)(15) and the Nile Basin Initiative(16),

M.    whereas the problems of the region are exacerbated by the regional impact of population growth, climate change and related pressures on natural resources, mainly oil, and by the friction generated by competition for the water resources of the Nile and the high proportion of nomadic pastoralists, bound largely by ethno-linguistic ties rather than political borders, who are among the most marginalised groups in the region,

N.     whereas poverty-related diseases, especially HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria, are a major cause as well as a consequence of the considerable poverty in the region,

O.     whereas in most countries in the region fewer than 50% of children are enrolled in primary school,

1.      Deplores the fact that neither the European Parliament nor the Parliaments of the African countries, nor the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, nor civil society representatives were duly consulted at any stage of the formulation of the EU-Africa Strategy, which calls into question the democratic legitimacy of the common commitment;

2.      Recalls that conceiving a sustainable approach to the establishment of lasting peace in the Horn of Africa requires the conjunction of all existing EU instruments and legal frameworks for Africa; calls for full implementation of Articles 8 to 11 of the Cotonou Agreement;

Security dimension

3.      Stresses that the conflicts in the Horn of Africa must be addressed through a comprehensive, conflict-sensitive, regional approach that will enable the formulation of a comprehensive response to the regional dynamics and conflict systems;

4.      Takes the view that the EU's action with regard to the Horn of Africa must address not only security concerns but also the structural causes of conflicts connected to social, political and economic exclusion, as well as strengthening security and justice;

5.      Stresses that, while addressing security concerns and pursuing counter-terrorism policies, the EU must not neglect human rights and humanitarian law; urges Member States to bring to light and denounce any 'international renditions' of persons arrested in the region suspected of terrorism;

6.      Calls on the Council and the Commission to take resolute steps to counter impunity in the region, arms trafficking, human rights abuses, violations of ceasefires and attacks on civilians, peacekeepers and humanitarian workers, and to support the involvement of the International Criminal Court (ICC);

7.      Stresses that long-term peace in the Horn of Africa will also depend on the EU's commitment to democracy and human rights in the region; calls on the EU to publicly condemn the repressive regimes in that region; expresses its deep concern about the repressive backlash in Ethiopia - the seat of the AU - against opposition leaders, journalists, human rights activists and ordinary people that has taken place since the rigged elections in 2005;

Peacebuilding regional approach

8.      Calls for consolidation of the EU presence in the region through the appointment of an EU representative for the Horn of Africa, a person to be entrusted with the coordination of EU initiatives for the region to serve as the main EU interlocutor for all Horn of Africa States and submit regular reports to Parliament;

9.      Encourages the Commission and the Council to make further progress in establishing an EU Delegation to the AU based in Ethiopia, in addition to the Commission's Delegation in Ethiopia;

10.    Calls on the Commission and the Council to start a consultation process with the other stakeholders involved in the region, namely the UN, AU, IGAD, Arab League, USA and China, on the initiative of convening a Comprehensive Security Conference to deal with the security concerns of all Horn of Africa States simultaneously; points out that such an initiative should serve as a starting point for launching confidence-building measures in the States of the region;

11.    Strongly believes that, in its efforts to address the crisis in the Horn of Africa region, the EU should first and foremost seek African solutions, that is, solutions to be achieved with the involvement of the regional organisations in place, AU and IGAD; emphasises, however, the need to strengthen these organisations through capacity and institution building, and particularly through the Peace Facility, in terms of conflict prevention and conflict resolution;

12.    Recalls that improving Africa’s ability to prevent, manage and resolve African conflicts, requires concrete measures to support the implementation of the AU’s Peace and Security Agenda, by providing technical support, expertise and institution building assistance to the African Standby Force and to the AU Commission’s Peace and Security Department;

13.    Recalls the important role of regional initiatives such as the African Peer Review Mechanism in curbing corruption and promoting good governance; emphasises the need for African countries to implement these initiatives and for the Commission and the Member States to provide technical and financial assistance for this purpose;

14.    Calls on the Member States to promote a legally binding international instrument on the tracing and marking of SALW and ammunition and to support regional initiatives to combat the illicit trade in SALW and ammunition in developing countries;

15.    Welcomes UNICEF's initiative in organising an International Conference in Paris (5 and 6 February 2007) on child soldiers, and underlines the need to put an end to the illegal and unacceptable exploitation of children in armed conflicts;

16.    Stresses the need to end illicit trade in and tighten controls on the circulation of SALW; welcomes the adoption on 6 December 2006 by the UN General Assembly of a resolution on an Arms Trade Treaty;

17.    Calls on the Commission and the Council to enhance and to extend to other countries/regions the existing Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) and Security Sector Reform (SSR) initiatives;

18.    Stresses the need to foster the role of national and international NGOs, Community Based Organisations (CBOs), grassroots movements and other non-State actors in peace-building and conflict prevention;

Development dimension/ Axes of regional integration

19.    Emphasises that the objective of reducing poverty by achieving the MDGs and putting the Millennium Declaration into effect must be prioritised and clearly reflected in all relevant EU policies for the region, but believes that the MDGs should not be seen as a technical issue which will be resolved simply by providing more money without identifying and tackling the underlying causes of poverty;

20.    Strongly believes that the states of the Horn of Africa have, in addition to shared security problems, a common development agenda which require common efforts to be made and the mobilisation of the political leadership and the societies in these countries; stresses the fact that these concerns can be fully addressed only through conflict-sensitive joint actions aimed at finding common solutions;

21.    Stresses the fact that organising initiatives and regional cooperation around clearly identified issues of common concern such as refugee flows, border control, food security, natural resources, energy, the environment, education, infrastructure, arms control and gender equality would serve as a solid basis for positive political dialogue among Horn of Africa States;

22.    Urges the Commission to pay due attention to the needs of the region when drawing up not only the Regional and Country Strategy Papers for the ACP countries but also the Thematic Strategy Papers and the Annual Action Programmes under the Development Cooperation Instrument;

23.    Calls on the Commission to promote better coordination among its departments and the Member States, in order to harmonize the interventions in areas such as the EU-Africa Infrastructure Partnership and the EU Governance Initiative and to ensure coordination in these areas with the UN, USA, China and other international actors;

24.    Expresses its concern at specialists’ predictions stating that Africa, although it contributes the least in greenhouse gas emissions, will suffer the most from global warming due to its underdevelopment and poverty; underlines the need for the international community to support the region so that it may be in a better position to adapt itself to the severe repercussions of climate change;

25.    Recalls that the sustainable management of natural resources, including the exploitation of water and access to and use of energy sources must be an integral part of development plans and of strategies for fighting poverty and preventing conflict in the Horn of Africa region;

26.    Takes the view that EU support is needed for the sustainable land management and desertification programme through the thematic programme on the environment and sustainable management, as well as for the ACP-EU Water Facility, in order to increase the environmental protection of water resources;

27.    Invites the Council and the Commission to seek dialogue with China, taking into consideration the fact that China has intensified its political and economic involvement in Africa, investing heavily in infrastructure and development projects in countries such as Sudan;

28.    Calls on the Council and the Commission to encourage EAC, COMESA and the Nile Basin Initiative to share information on their respective roles and activities among themselves and with the Horn of Africa States and key actors in the region; stresses the positive experience of EAC, COMESA and the Nile Basin Initiative in areas such as border control, efforts to combat trafficking and the proliferation of SALW, the EAC Customs Union , promotion of trade and investments COMESA and cooperation for sustainable use of waters of the Nile basin;

29.    Welcomes the EU's intention to work with various partners to address the question of migration, refugees and IDPs and the proposal to provide additional support to host communities, States and the relevant organisations working in the field to prevent south-south migration and refugee crises;

30.    Considers the involvement of local communities in economic activities, in rural as well as in urban areas, to be of crucial importance in order to endorse their socio-economic position in post-conflict societies;

31.    Stresses that the fight against HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria, as well as neglected diseases, must be one of the key strategies for eradicating poverty and promoting economic growth in the Horn of Africa States; emphasises that EU action must be designed in such a way to target disadvantaged and vulnerable groups;

Country level

Sudan

32.    Calls on the Council, the Commission and the Member States to fully assume their responsibilities and make every possible effort to protect the people in Darfur from the humanitarian disaster resulting from the continuing violation of the ceasefire by all parties, and in particular the violence directed against the civilian population and the targeting of civilian assistance;

33.    Expresses its serious concern about the developments in Darfur and calls on the Sudanese Government to prevent exactions by the Janjaweed militia; urges the Sudanese authorities to facilitate without further delay the deployment of a joint international AU and UN force in the region, and calls for the establishment of the starting date for its deployment;

34.    Deplores the fact that, according to the UN sources, thirty NGOs and UN compounds have been directly attacked by armed groups, and twelve relief workers killed, in the last six months;

35.    Calls on all parties to the conflict to realise their duty to respect humanitarian law and to ensure the full, safe and unhindered access to relief personnel of all people in need in Darfur and to ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance, in particular to IDPs;

36.    Calls for implementation of the UN Security Council sanction regime by means of targeted economic sanctions, including travel bans, asset freezing and the threat of an oil embargo; calls for equipment to be made available for the enforcement of the no-fly zone over Darfur established by UN Security Council Resolution 1591 (2005);

37.    Stresses the need for, and calls for, early implementation of the decision by the government of Sudan and the UN regarding the deployment of the AU/UN joint force in order to increase security and improve the protection of civilians;

38.    Urges the international community, especially the UN, the European Union and its Member States, the US, China, India, the Arab League and the AU, to launch peace talks to improve the content of the Darfur Peace Agreement and make it acceptable for all parties and thus improve the parties’ ownership of the Agreement;

39.    Stresses the fact that failure to resolve the conflict in Darfur would have serious consequences not only for the East Africa region but also for other relatively stable parts of Africa, namely Central Africa and the region of the Great Lakes;

40.    Urges the international community not to focus on the Darfur conflict to the exclusion of other conflict situations in Sudan and, in particular, to recognise the fragility of the peace in Southern Sudan resulting from the slow progress made in implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and the high risk of destabilisation due to North-South tensions, inter-tribal conflicts and the widespread ownership of arms in society;

Somalia

41.    Condemns foreign intervention in Somalia and calls on the Ethiopian Government to withdraw its army from the country; endorses the deployment of an AU peace-keeping force under an inclusive political agreement between the warring parties, leading to the creation of a government of national unity able to encompass that part of the Union of Islamic Courts which is open to a process of peace and reconciliation and the clan chiefs absent from the current government;

42.    Takes the view that the AU peacekeeping operation in Somalia, AMISOM, should be framed within a broader political process supported by the population that has a clear mandate, good capacity, clear objectives and an exit strategy;

43.    Welcomes the EU's support for AMISOM but stresses that the EU's contribution must be conditional on the launch of an inclusive political dialogue and reconciliation by the Somali authorities, addressing promptly the challenges of reconciliation, institution building and providing peace for the Somali people;

44.    Stresses the central role of an all-inclusive political dialogue that will lead to reconciliation and the reconstruction of the country; welcomes the commitment of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) for Somalia to call a broad reconciliation conference (National Reconciliation Congress) involving clans, religious communities, civil society, business communities and political leaders; points out that the way forward must be the establishment of a credible, all-inclusive government;

45.    Calls for a reassessment of the role of the International Somalia Contact Group, which involves the EU, Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom, UN, AU, IGAD, the League of Arab States, Norway, the United States, Kenya and Tanzania, established in May 2006 as a forum for coordination of the international community’s activities in Somalia in order to focus efforts on issues of governance and institution-building, humanitarian assistance to displaced persons and populations in need, and on improving regional stability and security;

46.    Calls on the Somali TFG to rescind the state of emergency and reinstate the speaker of parliament as a precondition for implementation of the process of national reconciliation;

47.    Emphasises the urgent need for the TFG to establish representative authorities for key municipalities, including Mogadishu and Kismaayo, in order to provide political stability and manage local security over the short term, and to give up the principle of forcible disarmament, especially in Mogadishu, and instead negotiate a plan for voluntary disarmament;48.  Considers that the Somaliland request for independence should be examined as part of the over-arching security agenda for Somalia;

Ethiopia

49.    Calls on the Council and the Commission to put pressure on the Ethiopian Government to disclose the total number of persons detained throughout the country, to allow visits by the International Committee of the Red Cross and to allow all detainees access to their families, legal counsel and any medical care that their health may require, and also to release immediately and unconditionally all political prisoners, i.e. journalists, trade union activists, human rights defenders and ordinary citizens, and fulfill its obligations with respect to human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law;

50.    Calls on Ethiopia to accept the demarcation and delimitation of its border as set out by the UN Boundary Commission;

Eritrea

51.    Urges the Council and the Commission to take action with regard to the Eritrean Government to release all political prisoners, bring prisoners with specific charges against them to a speedy and fair trial and disclose the place of detention of all who are detained in secret prisons;

52.    Encourages the Eritrean President to maintain frequent contacts with EU representatives and various Member State ambassadors to Eritrea;

Uganda

53.    Calls on the Council and the Commission to facilitate the peace process in Northern Uganda, which calls for all parties to the conflict to demonstrate a genuine and continuous commitment to the peace process, to respect the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement and to put an end to hostile and inflammatory propaganda;

54.    Calls for the launch of a real reconciliation process, with those responsible for war crimes being recognised as such; emphasises the central role of the ICC in bringing to justice those indicted on charges of war crimes; calls on the Council and the Commission to support local processes for alternative justice and reconciliation to take place in Northern Uganda as well as between Northerners and the rest of the country;

o o

o

55.    Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Member States of the European Union and to the United Nations, the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development.

(1)

15961/05 (Presse 367), 19.12.2005.

(2)

OJ C 46, 24.2.2006, p. 1.

(3)

OJ L 317, 15.12.2000, p. 3.

(4)

OJ L 209, 11.8.2005, p. 27.

(5)

5319/06, 13.1.12006.

(6)

Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2007)0052.

(7)

Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2006)0387.

(8)

Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2006)0142.

(9)

OJ C 133 E,8.6.2006, p. 96.

(10)

OJ C 140 E, 9.6.2005, p. 153.

(11)

S/RES/1706 (2006). http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N06/484/64/PDF/N0648464.pdf?OpenElement

(12)

Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2006)0322.

(13)

Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2006)0141.

(14)

EAC members are: Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.

(15)

COMESA: all the countries in the Horn of Africa are members with the exception of Somalia.

(16)

Nile Basin Initiative: Burundi, DRC, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

I. Introduction: why this Communication?

In December 2005 the European Council adopted the EU-Africa Strategy, setting up a comprehensive, integrated and long-term framework for EU relations with the African continent, with the primary aims of achieving the Millennium Development Goals, the promotion of sustainable development, security and good governance in Africa.

As the first test case for applying such a strategy, in November 2006 the Commission issued the Communication entitled "Strategy for Africa: An EU regional partnership for peace, security and development in the Horn of Africa(1)", which is examined in this report.

The purpose of the Communication is to set up a 'Regional Political Partnership' with the Horn of Africa as a basis for a comprehensive approach to conflict prevention in the region, following the basic assumption that there is no development without lasting peace, and that there is no lasting peace without development.

The selection of this region as the first test case for the EU Strategy on Africa is based on two considerations: its strategic importance to the EU and the enormous political and cultural complexity of the three main and inter-related conflicts in the region (Sudan, Ethiopia-Eritrea and Somalia), where a regional approach would be the only viable strategy to addressing the conflicts ("nothing will be solved until everything is solved").

II. Ambitious process

The strategy proposed by the Commission aims at "setting up a comprehensive approach to conflict prevention in the Horn of Africa, tackling in the short to medium term the root causes of instability at both country and regional level and strengthening regional cooperation."

The description of the complex security and development concerns of the region as well as the possible levels of EU intervention: regional and country based level, backed by accompanying measures, represents a basis for elaborating a range of EU concrete proposals towards the region. One could hardly disagree with the urgent need to establish conflict prevention strategies, regional integration initiatives and enhancement of the African institutions.

However, one can also ask a legitimate question: in a region where five out of seven countries are in conflict with their neighbours, and where every conflict fuels the other, where one country has been lacking a functioning government for more than 15 years, where the percentage of the population below poverty is more than 22 % , will the concept of regional partnership work as a "cure-all" for such complex inter-related problems?

According to the report, it is worth a try. Indeed, with all the deficiencies and gaps of the Communication, some of them unavoidable, and which the report addresses, the rapporteur agrees with four assumptions which appear to be the basis for the proposed strategy:

1.  There is no sustainable development without lasting peace (and vice versa), and no lasting peace without effective involvement of African regional institutions;

2.  A regional perspective, or “a regional deal”, is required to find solutions to individual conflicts;

3.  Regional integration initiatives will be successful when addressing common challenges, and not only when addressing existing conflicts: regional integration axes should be built around water, food security, desertification, and not around boundaries or ethnic disputes;

4.  The EU, as such, has a major role to play in the region. It can and must export its own model of regional integration = lasting peace.

Having said that, the rapporteur considers the Communication for what it was: the start of a process. The final goal as stated in the Communication is to set up an EU Regional Strategy for the region. At the same time, the EU Member States have their own external actions in the Horn. Thus, this report is addressed to the EU Member Sates as much as to the Commission.

III. Gaps and misconceptions: the way forward

Even if the rapporteur fully agrees with the final objective of the Communication, and commends the Commission for this initiative, the rapporteur considers that the Communication is far from outlining a truly EU strategy. The Communication appears to be compiling and combining a list of already existing activities, which is necessary but clearly insufficient.

The EP report brings in the following recommendations:

· Elaboration of Joint EU-Africa Strategy (not mentioned in the Communication)

During the second EU-Africa Summit, which should be held in Lisbon in 2007, the Heads of States and Governments are to approve a joint EU-Africa Strategy. The Joint Strategy would represent the EU's commitment to transforming the "unilaterally" adopted EU Strategy for Africa into a Joint EU-Africa commitment.

The European Parliament was not consulted at any phase of the preparation of the Joint Strategy. In this case, it is difficult to argue that the document enjoys the required democratic legitimacy.

· A pro-active EU diplomatic agenda for the region

The report calls for a structured and pro-active EU diplomatic agenda for the region, with the appointment of an EU special representative to the Horn of Africa, entrusted with the coordination of EU initiatives for the region. This would serve the double purpose of avoiding duplication of EU activities and identifying the main interlocutor for all the Horn of Africa States.

A pro-active agenda implies a clear EU position for each and every conflict in the region. Thus, including an analysis of and a set of minimum objectives for each country and regional conflict, something which is missing in the Communication, helps shaping an EU comprehensive approach towards the region.

· Political dialogue: Article 8 of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement. How the EU could make full use of the text

Article 8 provides a framework for conducting a political dialogue on specific political issues of mutual concern or of general significance, such as the arms trade, excessive military expenditure, etc. Further, it stipulates that broadly based policies to promote peace and prevent, manage and resolve violent conflicts shall play a prominent role in this dialogue. It also highlights the need to take full account of the objective of peace and democratic stability when defining priority areas of cooperation.

How do the Member States intend to implement the full meaning of Article 8? The key might be to follow a policy that links specific areas of cooperation with peace and security performances.

· Governance

Bad governance is an essential part of the core problems in the Horn of Africa. Thus, the respect for human rights, rule of law and the issue of democratic institutions will be given high importance in the Report.

Authoritarian, even dictatorial tendencies are growing in the region. How can the governance performance of the countries in the region be effectively improved? The African Peer Review Mechanism and the Governance Initiative could provide immediate tools for EU action. However, problems like corruption, human trafficking, organised crime, and human rights violations need a long term approach. What would be the most suitable instrument for achieving tangible progress on this issue? How can the EU make best use of its soft power? The EP report should propose initiatives to tackle this problem, which is barely addressed in the Commission communication.

· Strengthening the regional institutions

In its efforts to address the crisis in the Horn, the EU should first and foremost seek African solutions, through the regional organisations in place, namely AU and IGAD.

This brings the issue of strengthening of these organisations at the heart of the EU action, which could be achieved through their effective capacity and institution building.

The concept of African ownership is and must be the cornerstone of all EU initiatives for the region. However, translating the concept into reality requires constant effort from both sides (EU and African) towards the final objective of anchoring this concept into the dynamics of EU-African relations.

· Moving towards an African peace and security architecture: An AU Standby force

At the core of the concept is the strengthening of Africa's capacity to prevent, manage and resolve African conflicts. Concrete measures could be taken by supporting the implementation of the AU's Peace and Security Agenda, and by providing assistance to the African standby Force and the AU Commission's Peace and Security Department.

· Comprehensive Security Conference on the region

In principle this is a positive initiative, although it needs careful elaboration. It would enable an approach going beyond existing regional institutions.

To be addressed in the EP report: How could the EU ensure that all the stakeholders would take the initiative seriously and that it could have "tangible" results? Success in this case can not be defined in absolute terms. Efforts must be primarily directed towards confidence-building measures amongst all the relevant actors.

Security concerns can be better served if linked to areas of interests and common problems.

•   Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR)

Existing Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration initiatives (Somaliland, some other regions of Somalia, and Eritrea) should be enhanced and extended to other countries / regions.

· Regional integration axes:

The EP report recommends the identification of few issues of common concern (water, food security, desertification, energy, environment, gender) and the investment of resources in establishing regional infrastructures to support regional integration on a long-lasting basis, which would allow to address systematically those concerns. All these issues must be put high on the security and development agenda of the Horn. It stresses the importance to avoid making wish-lists and one-shot institutions but when possible, to build upon existing initiatives.

The development perspective must be underlined: achievement of the Millennium Development Goals to be embedded into these areas of activity; as well as the important role of the civil society.

(1)

Geographical scope as defined by the Communication: Horn of Africa (Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda).


OPINION of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (1.3.2007)

for the Committee on Development

on the Horn of Africa: an EU regional political partnership for peace, security and development

(2006/2291(INI))

Draftsman: Miguel Portas

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Foreign Affairs calls on the Committee on Development, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Stresses the obligation of the countries of the region to respect human rights in accordance with the Cotonou Agreement and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

2.  Stresses the need to ensure effective protection for refugees and persons displaced within their own country, in particular women and children;

3.  Welcomes UNICEF's initiative in organising an International Conference in Paris (5 and 6 February 2007) on child soldiers, and underlines the need to put an end to the illegal and unacceptable exploitation of children in armed conflicts;

4.  Stresses that measures to uphold human rights and seek the negotiation of inclusive solutions between all parties in the region is an EU priority; stresses the important role of civil society and non-governmental representatives in this respect; calls upon all armed groups to respect human rights and to refrain from any attacks on civilians including sexual violence against women;

5.  Stresses that a durable return to peace in the Horn of Africa can only be achieved through the commitment of all parties concerned; stresses the need to encourage dialogue between the warring parties in the region and as required with parties outside the region, in particular Darfur and Somalia, and between Eritrea and Ethiopia;

6.  Underlines that long-term peace in the Horn of Africa will also depend on the EU's commitment to democracy and human rights in the region; calls on the EU to publicly condemn the repressive regimes in that region; expresses its strong concern about the repressive backlash in Ethiopia - the seat of the African Union - against opposition leaders, journalists, human rights activists and ordinary people that has taken place since the rigged elections in 2005;

7.  Underlines the need for an urgent and clearly defined strategy for the consolidation of security in the region, which is a prerequisite and necessary condition for achieving the Millennium Development Goals;

8.  Notes the growing influence of China in the region and calls on the Commission to seek a high-level development cooperation dialogue and strategy coordination in response to conflicts in the region;

9.  Expresses its concern at specialists’ predictions stating that Africa, although it contributes the least in greenhouse gas emissions, will suffer the most from global warming due to its underdevelopment and poverty; underlines the need for the international community to support the region so that it may be in a better position to adapt itself to the severe repercussions of climate change;

10. Stresses the need to end illicit trade and tighten controls on the circulation of small arms and light weapons; welcomes the adoption on 6 December 2006 by the United Nations General Assembly of a resolution on an arms trade treaty;

11. Expresses its serious concern at developments in Darfur and calls on the Sudanese Government to prevent exactions by the Janjaweed militia; urges the Sudanese authorities to facilitate without further delay the deployment of a joint international African Union and United Nations force in the region, and calls for the establishment of the starting date for its deployment;

12. Deplores the fact that, according to the UN sources, thirty NGO and UN compounds have been directly attacked by armed groups, and twelve relief workers killed, in the last six months;

13. Stresses the need for, and calls for, early implementation of the decision by the government of Sudan and the UN regarding the deployment of the AU/UN joint force in order to increase security and improve the protection of civilians;

14. Condemns foreign intervention in Somalia and calls on the Ethiopian Government to withdraw its army from the country; endorses the deployment of an African Union peacekeeping force under an inclusive political agreement between the warring parties, leading to the creation of a government of national unity able to encompass that part of the Union of Islamic Courts which is open to a process of peace and reconciliation and the clan chiefs absent from the current government;

15. Calls on the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to rescind the state of emergency and reinstate the speaker of parliament as a precondition for implementation of the process of national reconciliation;

16. Emphasises the urgent need for the TFG to establish representative authorities for key municipalities, including Mogadishu and Kismaayo, in order to provide political stability and manage local security over the short term, and to give up the principle of forcible disarmament, especially in Mogadishu, and instead negotiate a plan for voluntary disarmament;

17. Stresses the need for better coordination between the European Union and the Member States in terms of policies adopted and assistance offered through both European internal processes and closer coordination in the field by the Commission delegation (or a 'supervising' Member State); stresses the need for full coordination between the European Union, its Member States and relevant international actors with a view to achieving a harmonised approach;

18. Calls on the Council and Commission to develop and maintain effective use of existing EU instruments designed to improve dialogue between the EU and the regional authorities.

PROCEDURE

Title

The Horn of Africa: an EU regional political partnership for peace, security and development

Procedure number

2006/2291(INI)]

Committee responsible

DEVE

Opinion by
  Date announced in plenary

AFET
14.12.2006

Enhanced cooperation – date announced in plenary

 

Drafts(wo)man
  Date appointed

Miguel Portas
28.11.2006

Previous drafts(wo)man

 

Discussed in committee

30.1.2006

27.2.2006

 

 

 

Date adopted

27.2.2006

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

17

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Panagiotis Beglitis, Véronique De Keyser, Hanna Foltyn-Kubicka, Bronisław Geremek, Ana Maria Gomes, Jana Hybášková, Ioannis Kasoulides, Eugen Mihăescu, Pasqualina Napoletano, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, István Szent-Iványi, Inese Vaidere

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Alexandra Dobolyi, Milan Horáček, Jaromír Kohlíček, Erik Meijer, Miguel Portas

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

 

Comments (available in one language only)

 


PROCEDURE

Title

The Horn of Africa: EU Regional political partnership for peace, security and development

Procedure number

2006/2291(INI)

Committee responsible
  Date authorisation announced in plenary

DEVE
14.12.2006

Committee(s) asked for opinion(s)
  Date announced in plenary

AFET
14.12.2006

INTA
14.12.2006

 

 

 

Not delivering opinion(s)
  Date of decision

INTA
22.11.2006

 

 

 

 

Enhanced cooperation
  Date announced in plenary

 

 

 

 

 

Rapporteur(s)
  Date appointed

Filip Kaczmarek
3.10.2006

 

Previous rapporteur(s)

 

 

Discussed in committee

18.12.2006

27.2.2006

 

 

 

Date adopted

11.4.2006

Result of final vote

+

-

0

23

0

1

Members present for the final vote

Margrete Auken, Margrietus van den Berg, Josep Borrell Fontelles, Thierry Cornillet, Koenraad Dillen, Fernando Fernández Martín, Romana Jordan Cizelj, Maria Martens, Gay Mitchell, Miguel Portas, Horst Posdorf, Toomas Savi, Pierre Schapira, Frithjof Schmidt, Luis Yañez-Barnuevo García, Anna Záborská, Mauro Zani

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

John Bowis, Milan Gaľa, Alain Hutchinson, Jan Jerzy Kułakowski, Miguel Angel Martínez Martínez, Manolis Mavrommatis, Anne Van Lancker

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

 

Date tabled

17.4.2007

Comments
(available in one language only)

 

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