By: Yusuf M Hasan
Hargeisa (Somalilandsun) – The European Union is satisfied with the anti-piracy activities of Somaliland.
The EU special representative to Somaliland and Somalia Ambassador Michele Cervone D’urso informed of the satisfaction during a press conference at the presidency in Hargeisa.
According to the EU envoy who held a meeting with the president prior to the press conference said that the EU would enhance its support to the country’s maritime security activities especially as pertains to support for the coast guard and national navy.
Ambassador D’urso who is in his first visit to the country further revealed that he is in Hargeisa to emphasize the EU’s Commitment to local stability and security as well as underscore that Somaliland is a key development partner of the EU.
The envoy who replaces his predecessor Amb Alex Rondos, said that the EU is pleased with the ongoing democratization process and thus committed to continued direct support especially for the forthcoming local council elections slated for late November of this year.
Amb Michele Cervone D’urso also informed that as part of its continued commitment to the development of various sectors the EU that is the largest direct donor to Somaliland will increase its annual fund whose total for 2012 is Euros 68 million.
Apart from the promised support to counter piracy activities other projects to receive EU support include Democratization process, Infrastructure, Social sector, food security, livestock and Rehabilitation of the Hargeisa Hospital
At the same time at the EU said that it is finalizing studies for the Berbera corridor and projected works will commence soon
Prior to his meeting with president Silanyo, the envoy held discussions with civil society organizations that receiving funding from the EU where agreement based on the need for concerted efforts to give women a greater voice in society were made as well as How the state can be more responsive at local level
The minister of foreign affairs Dr Mohamed Abdilahi Omar who flanked the EU Envoy during the press conference informed that the president H.E Ahmed Mahmoud Silanyo held very fruitful discussions with Ambassador Michele Cervone D’urso with the two sides in accord as pertains enhanced partnership at all fronts.
The foreign minister informed that the meeting, which dwelt on several areas that require attention discussed in more specifics
• The resumption of talks between Somaliland and the successor to the Somali Transitional Federal Government
• The democratization process in the country, as well as the EU’s Support to forthcoming local council elections
• Maritime security and support to counter-piracy activities as well as pirates exchange program.
The EU’s engagement in the Horn of Africa is defined by the region’s geo-strategic importance, the longstanding EU engagement with countries of the region, the EU’s desire to help lift the people from poverty into self-sustaining economic growth, and the need for the EU to protect its own citizens from security threats. Piracy in the Indian Ocean has been a growing threat to international shipping, security and development from the middle of the last decade. In response to the rising levels of piracy in the Western Indian Ocean, the EU formed the European Union Naval Force and began Operation ATALANTA in December 2008.
Until recently, disruption took place exclusively at sea but as an extension of the successful disruptive actions previously undertaken at sea, EU NAVFOR demonstrated the ability and willingness to take focused, precise and proportionate disruptive action against pirate equipment ashore. EU Naval Force will disrupt Pirate Logistic Dumps when the conditions necessitate us to do it and all conditions are met to ensure that innocent coastal communities are not affected.
Piracy is a symptom of a wider malaise, reflecting Somalia’s recent traumatic history, the fragmentary state of its government and the largely lawless nature of much of the country. These fundamental problems, together with a lack of alternative means of employment, make piracy an appealing option. Only by addressing these root causes will the problem of piracy be overcome, and thus the use of EUNAVFOR to counter acts of piracy is simply one line of activity in a comprehensive approach that the EU has adopted which will address each of the challenges that face Somalia.
Therefore, all activity conducted by EUNAVFOR is an integral part of the Comprehensive Approach and the wide spread of support that the EU undertakes throughout Somalia and the wider region.
Apart from EU Naval Force Somalia Operation Atalanta, EUTM and EUCAP NESTOR, other EU-funded projects exist in relation to maritime security. The Critical Maritime Routes Programme under the Instrument for Stability, in place since 2009, has been at the forefront of addressing the maritime capacity building needs in the Western Indian Ocean region, focusing on training and information sharing. The envisaged Indian Ocean Regional Strategy and Action Plan against Piracy and for Promoting Maritime Security (‘Regional Strategy’) will also contribute strongly to ongoing EU efforts.
Further European Union (EU) Assistance to Somaliland and somalia (not exhaustive):
In addition, the EU offers substantial financial and technical support to the African Union’s military mission to Somalia (AMISOM). Since 2007 and until July 2012, the EU has contributed €325 million to AMISOM for mission allowances, medical care, accommodation, fuel, and communication equipment. (Specific to Somalia only)
Development aid from the European Commission (10th EDF 2008-2013 – reviewed)
• €412 million ((€212 million EDF + €175 million after review + €25 million Millenium Development Goals)
• Governance: €60 million + €53 million
• Education: € 55 million + €30 million
• Economic Development: €55 million + €80 million
Humanitarian aid from the European Commission for Somalia (ECHO) since 2005
• €280 million since 2005 for Somalia