On May 13, the Council discussed and adopted conclusions on the Sahel. The Council reiterated that the Sahel is a strategic priority for the EU and its member states. The various meetings taking place during the week of 13 May demonstrate this sense of priority and the EU's integrated approach to the region. Foreign ministers had a discussion to set out the political framework, preparing for the exchanges of views between EU foreign and defence ministers on 14 May together with the foreign and defence ministers of the G5 Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger), which is expected to focus on security aspects. On Thursday 16 May, EU development ministers will discuss how to step up the EU's long-term engagement with and support for the region.
The conclusions recall that the EU stands by the authorities and people of the Sahel, who continue to face challenges of various kinds:
- those of a political nature, in particular serious shortcomings in governance, the rule of law and the protection of human rights;
- challenges relating to security, with the expansion of the terrorist threat, of extremist violence and of organised crime, including human trafficking, with climate change adversely affecting natural resources and fuelling local conflicts;
- challenges in terms of development, with endemic poverty, strong demographic growth and weak socio-economic cohesion;
- these factors aggravate food insecurity, increase migratory pressures and worsen the humanitarian situation.
Against this background, conflicts between communities have flared up again, in the space of a few months, in several countries in the region. Meeting these challenges and remedying these shortcomings is primarily the responsibility of the Sahel states. The international community supports them in their efforts.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Council of the European Union.