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EU – G5 Sahel Meeting discussed security strategies.

EU-Sahel Meeting

EU-Sahel Meeting

On June 17th , the EU High Representative Federica Mogherini briefed ministers on the second EU-G5 Sahel ministerial meeting. It was at this meeting that ministers discussed strategies on how to strengthen dialogue between G-5 African countries on issues such as security and migration.

The Sahel G5 comprises Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad. The past year has seen the EU increase engagement with the bloc, adopting an EU-G5 Sahel Roadmap during a Summit in Ndjamena in November 2015, prior to the appointment of a regional special representative: M. Angel Losada in December 2015.

There is an ongoing need to uphold political dialogue and partnerships in order to ensure issues such as security (most notably the ongoing CSDP missions), and migration are kept under control. The significant security threats that permeate the region include the spread of terrorism, extreme poverty, institutional weaknesses, and exposure to climate change, fragile governance, violent extremism and radicalization. As such, these challenges continue to contribute to further unrest, irregular migration and related crimes such as people smuggling and human trafficking often towards Europe via Libya.

Also, on June 20th the EU Council adopted the Sahel Regional Action Plan 2015-2020, which emphasises  EU’s commitment to regional engagement in the Sahel Region and its support to sustainable and inclusive political and socio-economic development, in addition to the strengthening of human rights, democratic governance and the rule of law, the prevention and countering of radicalization, illicit trafficking and transnational organised crime and youth, migration, mobility and border management.

In 2016, the EU’s Development Fund has committed 1.5 billion euros to new actions in the G5 Sahel countries, as well as 1.2 billion from the Valletta Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. But the EU agrees that the Action Plan needs to be carried out with the full ownership and under the primary responsibility of the countries concerned

The emergence of more recent security threats (i.e. Islamic State and radicalisation) continue to threaten attempts to stabilise the region; something which are set to heighten the need for more frequent meetings. As the EU continues its engagement and dialogue with the region, the development of the Action Plan and additional strategies are unlikely to see the EU and the Sahel stray from the spotlight any time soon.