Commission proposes to gradually resume development aid to the Republic of Niger
Commissioner Piebalgs said: "This decision sends a clear signal of support for the government of Niger. We acknowledge the concrete commitments made and stand ready to contribute to the progressive return of the constitutional order and rule of law in Niger. In difficult times, this will also reinforce the long-lasting support we provide to the people of Niger."
On Monday (26 July) the European Commission has proposed to the Council to close consultations under article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement – the political framework for EU relations with countries in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific. This means that the Commission offers to resume progressively delivery of development aid to Niger alongside the return to the constitutional order in the country. Development assistance for the Republic of Niger has been suspended since the end of the last year following a constitutional crisis there. However, humanitarian and emergency aid has remained available and was increased last June, to address the food crisis.
Under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF), the main Commission's financial framework for development aid, the Republic of Niger should benefit from a total of €458 million between 2008 and 2013. The Commission will be able to resume disbursing these funds only after the Council has formally adopted the decision. Today's proposal foresees to take up cooperation gradually on condition that commitments made by the Niger government, which are included in the roadmap are met. This process for the transition to democracy notably envisages a referendum on a new constitution as well as local and presidential elections. Under the roadmap this should be finalised by March 2011.
The main priority areas for cooperation under the 10th EDF for Niger are support to good governance, development of transport infrastructure, improvement of the worsening food security situation and other operations which directly benefit the population (i.e. access to safe water and sanitation).
Over the last years, the European Commission has provided humanitarian aid to the Republic of Niger, which has been hit hard by food insecurity. In June this year, the Commission adopted a funding Decision to address current food insecurity in Niger and allocated €15 million. This latest decision brings the total Commission funding (humanitarian and other aid instruments, particularly from the European Development Fund) to Niger since 2009 to € 90 million. These funds made it possible for partners to upscale activities to meet the additional needs created by the crisis. The number of children treated for severe malnutrition has been vastly increased and food assistance operations have been extended for the worst affected populations. It must be noted that Humanitarian Aid has not been subject to any suspension and has continued to flow uninterrupted.
For further information
More information on the food situation in the Republic of Niger read the MEMO/10/340