MEPs concerned about stability and security in Western Africa and the Sahel
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MEPs concerned about stability and security in Western Africa and the Sahel

The European Parliament calls for a comprehensive response to the challenges in West Africa and the Sahel, with coordinated security, climate, development and trade policies

In a resolution adopted on Thursday, MEPs expressed concern over the increased instability in West Africa and the Sahel, strongly condemning the violence and loss of life in the region, including abuses committed in the context of military operations.

Deeply concerned about the state of democracy and the recent coups d’état, MEPs call on all coup leaders to set clear limits for the duration of the political transition, and to ensure a quick return to the constitutional order and the organisation of transparent and inclusive elections.

Any long-term security and political cooperation with EU actors will require realistic timetables for a return to democracy, including clear and measurable milestones, say MEPs. Underlining that unity is the best way to tackle the numerous challenges in the region, the resolution supports the actions announced by the African Union and the actions taken by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to defend democracy and the rule of law.

Tackling the root causes of violence

The resolution underlines that improving the security situation in the region will require tackling the root causes of violence and conflict, including poverty, climate change, displacement, and a lack of access to education and opportunities, all of which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. MEPs also express deep concern about the sharp deterioration of food security across Western and Sahelian Africa that currently affects tens of millions of people and call on the EU as the leading global humanitarian and development donor to increase the financial and humanitarian support to meet the urgent needs of the population.

Terrorism and disinformation

Concerned about the increased presence of terrorist groups in the Sahel and West Africa region, MEPs point to people’s growing impoverishment that constitutes the socio-economic foundations of the development of terrorism.

The resolution acknowledges that the various international missions have not accomplished their primary goal of lasting peace in the region and therefore a reflection process about the mandates and role of international missions and policies is needed.

MEPs also warn that Russia continues to actively spread disinformation throughout the Sahel in order to delegitimise European initiatives aimed at bringing stability and security to the region. They condemn the increasing presence in the Sahel of the Kremlin-backed Russian Wagner Group, expressing their firm belief that the Wagner Group’s involvement in West Africa runs counter to the objective of bringing peace, security and stability.

The resolution was adopted by show of hands.