Commissioner Andris Piebalgs visits Guinea to discuss the next steps in resuming EU-Guinea cooperation, with new President Alpha Condé
On 6 and 7 May, European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs will travel to Conakry, Guinea, to discuss the next steps in resuming EU-Guinea cooperation. The visit takes place in the context of a gradual return to democratic legitimacy and constitutional order following the democratic election of a new president and the establishment of a civilian government. The Commissioner will announce further measures in support of Guinea which aim at accelerating the resumption of cooperation between the EU and Guinea. Commissioner Piebalgs will meet the President of Guinea, Alpha Condé, selected members of his government and representatives of opposition parties.
Andris Piebalgs will also inaugurate the Forecariah bridge in the presence of the Presidents of Guinea, Alpha Condé, and Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma. This bridge, located about thirty kilometres from the border with Sierra Leone, was funded by the EU, and is a key connection on the regional coastal axis.
"This visit recognises the significant progress made by the Republic of Guinea since the military coup of December 2008. I will assure the newly elected authorities that the EU remains at their side to help Guinea complete the political transition and to put the country back on the track towards stability and economic growth. The task of the new democratically elected president of Guinea is particularly difficult as the situation he inherited was catastrophic. Concrete solutions are needed to the expectations that the citizens of Guinea have regarding democracy, justice and economic development", said Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.
Programme of the visit
The Commissioner will meet with the President of Guinea, Alpha Condé, members of his government, and representatives of opposition parties.
The Commissioner will inaugurate the Forecariah bridge, funded by the European Union, and located near the border with Sierra Leone. This bridge is a key connection in the regional axis that links Conakry to Freetown. The bridge was funded with an amount of €8.35 million by the EU and completes the re-establishment of the Freetown-Conakry road, also funded by the European Development Fund. This project is not only vital for trade with neighbouring countries but also for opening up the southern Maritime Guinea that is potentially rich in agricultural production.
Following the military coup that took place in Guinea on 23 December 2008, the European Union had adopted appropriate measures partially suspending development cooperation. To accompany the return to constitutional order and the establishment of a democratic government, the European Union decided on 27 July 2009 to implement measures for a gradual and conditional resumption of cooperation, under the Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement.
Since then, Guinea has made significant progress in implementing its democratic transition, including through the organization of the 2010 presidential election. Resumption of cooperation between the EU and Guinea is well-advanced . Guinea can now receive the funds committed under the previous development programmes (9th European Development Fund (EDF) and previous EDFs) and the path was cleared for initiating the procedure to clear Guinea's arrears to the EDF, administered by the European Investment Bank under the HIPC (Heavily Indebted Poor Countries).
However, full resumption of development cooperation between the EU and Guinea (through the signature of the Country Strategy Paper and National Indicative Programme (NIP) under the 10th European Development Fund) is still dependent on the holding of free and transparent legislative elections expected to take place before the end of 2011. In order to assist the exit from the crisis by supporting the transition in Guinea, in July 2010 the European Commission adopted an envelope of 40M €. This funding is allocated for actions in areas identified as priorities: protection of human rights, justice, security sector reform, public finances and employment creation.
In March 2011 the Council of the European Union revised the list of people under sanctions. The list now includes only the five individuals named in the report of the United Nations' international Commission of inquiry set up to investigate the events of September 2009. These sanctions, which also include an arms embargo, were adopted as a reaction to the violent repression by security forces of a peaceful demonstration by the opposition on 28 September 2009.