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Monday, 20 January 2014

The EU response to the Central African Republic crisis

Since the outbreak of new violence late 2012, the EU has intensified its outreach to partners. It is actively engaged in international and regional efforts to stabilize the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) and to restore a more stable government in the country. On 19-20 December 2013, the European Council confirmed the EU’s willingness to use relevant instruments to contribute towards the efforts under way to stabilise the country, including under the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), based on a proposal by High Representative Catherine Ashton.
In this respect, the Political and Security Committee confirmed on 15 January the appropriateness of the preparation for a possible EU military operation, and invited the EEAS to develop a Crisis Management Concept in view of a decision on 20 January at the Foreign Affairs Council. European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva has called, jointly with the UN Under-Secretary General and UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, a ministerial meeting on CAR’s humanitarian situation in Brussels on 20 January. She has visited the country twice in 2013 and co-chaired a ministerial meeting on the humanitarian crisis in CAR at the 2013 UN General Assembly with France and the UN.
Despite the signature on 11 January 2013 in Libreville of a political agreement initiating a transition period, tensions culminated in the violent seizure of power and the unconstitutional change of government by SELEKA rebel groups in March 2013. On 5 December 2013, the worst spate of violence since the outbreak of the crisis erupted in the capital and other parts of the country, triggered by an attack by anti-Balaka and other armed groups against Muslims in Bangui. This, and the acts of retaliation that followed, left more than 1,000 people dead and led to a sudden and considerable increase of internal displacement.
The current crisis is affecting the majority of the population (4.6 million, half of them children). Almost 60% of the Central Africans are in dire need of aid. As of 15 January, there were about 886,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in CAR. More than 86,000 Central Africans have sought refuge in neighbouring countries in the last year. Humanitarian access has been restricted by insecurity. Lack of access makes it difficult to monitor the overall humanitarian situation and deliver the urgently required assistance to those suffering the consequences of violence. The EU has taken the lead in advocacy and funding on CAR among relief donors, and has had a permanent humanitarian presence in Bangui since long before the latest events.
The restoration of security and public order remain the immediate priorities to stabilize the country in support of the political process. Improving humanitarian coverage and re-launching development assistance are directly linked to positive developments in the security situation. An essential medium- to long-term objective is the rebuilding of state institutions.
The European Union (EU) is a key partner of the Central African Republic (CAR) and the country's main donor. Relations are bound by the Cotonou Agreement. Even before the current crisis, CAR faced a daunting mix of governance, economic, social, and humanitarian as well as security challenges. In response, the EU has been committed in many critical areas to support longer-term socio-economic recovery, in the framework of a comprehensive state- and peacebuilding agenda, and to help build a more stable country.

Source: European Commission