The European Union wants to define a new strategic approach towards Africa focused on cooperation with “legitimate governments”, after a series of military coups and in the face of Russian influence, said Wednesday President of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen.
“We must demonstrate, with regard to Africa, the same unity of intention that we have shown regarding Ukraine,” Ms. von der Leyen told MEPs, worried about the rise in power of Russia in Africa, and in particular in the Sahel. “Russia is influencing and profiting from the chaos there,” she added in her State of the Union address.
Faced with this situation, “we must focus on cooperation with legitimate governments and regional organizations,” she stressed. Since 2020, Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso and Niger have experienced military coups, which “will contribute to increasing instability in the region in the years to come,” she lamented. At the end of August, another African country, Gabon, was added to the list.
This new strategic approach must be defined before the holding of a summit between the EU and the African Union, scheduled for 2025, she added. The day before, the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell had recognized the failure of Europeans to consolidate democracy in the Sahel, despite hundreds of millions of euros invested, which did not prevent military coups.
Over the past ten years, the European Union has spent 600 million euros on civil and military missions in the Sahel, and trained tens of thousands of police and military personnel in Mali and Niger, Mr. Borrell said during a debate. at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. “This did not serve to consolidate armed forces which support the democratic government”, but rather armed forces “which overthrow them”, he nevertheless admitted.
This article is originally published on voaafrique.com