A European Parliament delegation visited Baghdad on Monday and Tuesday to reaffirm EU support to Iraqi authorities and to achieve political, social and economic stability in the country.
The delegation held high-level meetings with President Barham Salih, Prime Minister Adel Abdel-Mahdi, the Vice-Speaker of the Council of Representatives, Hassan Karim Al-Kaabi, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed Al-Hakim. The meetings led to fruitful discussions on the status of the ongoing reforms, particularly in the areas of security, the economy, government services and infrastructure and administration. In the context of the volatile political situation around the government-formation process, MEPs strongly reiterated their support for the EU-Iraq Partnership and Cooperation Agreement in order to promote and boost political dialogue and sustainable socio-economic growth.
“It is important to preserve the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq, a country with a rich ethnic and religious diversity. The EU is and will remain a reliable partner for Iraq.” said Delegation Chair David McAllister.
In line with the EU’s strategy for Iraq adopted earlier this year, the EU is working to fulfil its commitment to support the Iraqi people and their government in the reconstruction phase, with a total pledge from the EU and member states of 1.45 billion euros. MEPs insisted on the need to tackle the underlying political and socio-economic drivers of instability and underlined that the EU strongly supports Iraq’s state-rebuilding process. The discussions revealed the importance of Iraq’s sustained international and regional partnerships and the need to play a constructive role in Iraq in the interest of the country’s and the region’s stability. In that regard, Iraq aims to act as a positive bridge between regional powers.
MEPs addressed government plans and priorities for reconstruction efforts and encouraged constructive dialogue between the central authorities and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. MEPs also met with a representative of the UN Assistant Mission to Iraq (UNAMI) to ensure good cooperation between the two organisations. The delegation also stated its support for the deployment of the EU Assistance Mission (EU AM Iraq) to reform the civilian security sector and stressed the need to strengthen the Iraqi security institutions in order to facilitate further neutrality towards regional and international powers. The delegation supports the Iraqi authorities in delivering humanitarian aid, support for early recovery, stabilisation, development and reconstruction. The situation of human rights was also addressed, as the protection of women’s rights needs to be improved. Furthermore, serious concerns regarding freedom of the press persist in Iraq and MEPs called on Iraqi authorities to protect the rights of journalists.
Composition of the Delegation:
Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, David McALLISTER (EPP, DE), Arnaud DANJEAN (EPP, FR), Željana ZOVKO (EPP, HR), Ana GOMES (S&D, PT), Ryszard CZARNECKI (ECR, PL), Javier NART (ALDE, ES), Klaus BUCHNER (Greens/EFA, DE), James CARVER (NA, UK).