On 15 October, the EU's Foreign Affairs Ministers discussed the situation in Mali and adopted conclusions reflecting on how the EU can contribute to support Mali in restoring the rule of law and re-establishing a fully sovereign democratic government with authority throughout Malian territory.
"We talked today about our growing concern about the situation in Mali. The commitment of the EU is to work with the United Nations, with the African Union and with ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States), in particular to prepare an intervention plan on behalf of the people of Mali who have undoubtedly suffered a great deal over the last few months," said High Representative Catherine Ashton.
As soon as Mali's Government of National Unity has drawn up a credible road map including the organisation of democratic and credible elections, the prompt start of an inclusive national dialogue, including representatives of the northern populations, and the reorganisation of the army under civilian control, the EU could resume its development cooperation which is currently on hold following the coup d'état of 24 March.
The EU and its member states will pursue their humanitarian efforts and continue to monitor closely the situation in Mali and in neighbouring countries. The European Commission is prepared to significantly increase the amount of its aid in order to meet the people's needs.
The Council asked the European External Action Service to prepare a Crisis Management Concept for a possible mission. The focus of this mission would be on helping to re-train and re-structure the Malian army.
"We believe there is a real risk to the region if northern Mali remains an ungoverned space, free for terrorists and drug traffickers to operate," concluded High Representative Ashton.
In the context of support for Mali, the EU Strategy for Security and Development in the Sahel, which is currently being implemented in Mauritania, Niger and Mali, has proved a useful tool to enhance the coherence of the EU approach to the crisis. It outlines four strands of action:
- development, good governance and internal conflict resolution;
- political and diplomatic action;
- security and rule of law; and
- countering violent extremism.
In the framework of its Sahel strategy, the EU has further mobilised additional financial resources for development and security related projects worth €167 million along the four lines of action.
European External Action Service: