Saturday

19th Aug 2017

Merkel and Hollande pledge help for central Africa

  • Hollande said France and Germany have a special 'responsibility' on EU foreign policy (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

France and Germany have made a show of EU solidarity on Africa, as European soldiers prepare to leave for Bangui.

President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke side by side to press in Brussels on Wednesday (2 April), after Hollande invited her to a mini-summit on the Central African Republic (CAR).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

He said there is a “special friendship” between the two founding EU countries, adding: “We co-operate more than others on common foreign policy and common security because it’s our responsibility.”

Merkel said “there is a great bond” between France and Germany, who want to be an “engine” for EU-Africa relations.

She praised Hollande for sending French troops to Mali and CAR in unilateral operations which paved the way for EU missions. She noted that a joint Franco-German brigade will soon be training local forces in Mali and that she is sending military assets to an EU mission in CAR.

“Given historical developments, this is a new path for Germany - to show responsibility in Africa beside classic development policy,” she said, referring to Germany’s post-WWII pacifist tradition.

Earlier on Wednesday, EU officials said the first soldiers in “Eufor CAR” will arrive in Bangui at the end of April and that all 800 will be in place by the end of May.

Twelve EU countries are taking part, including: Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Sweden and the UK. The former Soviet republic of Georgia, which wants to join Nato, is also involved.

The lion’s share of soldiers and gendarmes are to come from Estonia, France, Georgia, Poland and Spain. Germany has proposed “significant strategic air-lift capabilities.” The UK is also focusing on logistics, while Italy is sending engineers.

The infantry will be equipped with small arms, anti-tank weapons, and machetes.

Their main job is to shepherd refugees from Bangui airport back home before the rainy season gets in full swing. Gendarmes will also try to stop looting and murders in the city.

The mini-summit on CAR took place in the margins of a bigger EU-Africa event.

PMs, presidents, and foreign ministers from 54 African states and 28 EU countries took part in the meeting, causing more traffic mayhem in Brussels after US and China summits in recent days.

For his part, European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso pledged to spend an extra €800 million on the African continent over the next three years.

He spoke of tackling “the challenges of eradicating poverty, of promoting a sustainable and inclusive growth that does not deplete the continent’s natural resources … of consolidating democracy, rule of law, good governance and respect for human rights".

But EU Council chief Herman Van Rompuy noted that Europe also needs Africa if there is to be a meaningful deal on global warming at the UN climate summit in September.

“We need your help to tackle climate change, which threatens all of us; to manage migration so that it benefits both of us; and to improve the security of both our continents,” he said.

News in Brief

  1. Macedonia sacks top prosecutor over wiretap scandal
  2. ECB concerned stronger euro could derail economic recovery
  3. Mixed Irish reactions to post-Brexit border proposal
  4. European Union returns to 2 percent growth
  5. Russian power most feared in Europe
  6. Ireland continues to refuse €13 billion in back taxes from Apple
  7. UK unemployment lowest since 1975
  8. Europe facing 'explosive cocktail' in its backyard, report warns

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  2. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  3. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  5. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  7. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  8. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  9. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  10. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  11. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  12. ECPAFood Waste in the Field Can Double Without Crop Protection. #WithOrWithout #Pesticides