EU suspends aid to Burundi

AID SHOULD' NOT BE TIED TO POLITICS: Willy Nyamitwe, Media Advisor in the President's Office in Burundi

AID SHOULD’ NOT BE TIED TO POLITICS: Willy Nyamitwe, Media Advisor in the President’s Office in Burundi

The European Union has suspended its direct financial support, including budget support, to the Burundian government following failure of the latter to comply with its obligations under article 96 of the EU-ACP partnership agreement, also known as Cotonou Accord.

In a press statement released Monday at the conclusion of consultations with Burundian government, the European Union says commitments proposed by the Burundian government are insufficient to address EU concerns in that East African nation.

“The situation in Burundi remains of serious concern for the EU, though we have seen recently some glimpses of hope,” Federica Mogherini, High Representative for EU Foreign Affairs and Security Policy said in the statement.

Mogherini calls on Burundi to implement concrete measures, especially towards finding a durable political solution to the crisis, for the resumption of its relationships with Europe.

“The action we are seeking is achievable with will and determination: it builds on measures and processes already set in motion by the African Union, the East African Community and the United Nations, and welcomed by the 5 African Heads of State mandated by the African Union,” says Mogherini.

The European Union however, indicated it will maintain both its financial support to the population and its humanitarian assistance to the refugee crisis.

“The EU is, and will remain, firmly committed to supporting the Burundian people in this crisis, which has already cost more than 400 lives, left thousands injured and forced over 240 000 people to take refuge in neighboring countries. We reaffirm our full solidarity with the people of Burundi, who are the first victims of this crisis,” says Neven Mimica, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development quoted in the statement.

He adds that the EU will carry on funding projects in basic services to the population, but without channeling financial resources through accounts held by the government of Burundi.

The decision comes after the December 8, 2015 consultations between Burundian government and the EU in line with article 96 of the Cotonou agreement.

The talks were aimed at examining the EU concerns over the crisis in Burundi and finding ways to remedy them.

During the meeting held before representatives of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, the African Union, the East African Community, and the United Nations, the parties discussed the necessary measures to ensure a swift return to compliance with democratic principles and values, human rights and the rule of law, on the basis of the Cotonou agreement and the principles set out in the Arusha agreements. Thus  far, commitments proposed by Burundian government representatives have been judged unsatisfactory by the EU.

The Government of Burundi is yet to officially comment on the decision, but Willy Nyamitwe, Media Advisor in the President’s office, said via his Twitter account that “No aid if support eats away country’s political space.”

The EU contribution under the 11th European Development Fund (2014-2020) amounts to € 432 million;  € 80 million for sustainable Rural Development for Nutrition, € 87 million for health care sector, € 143 million Euros to support the contract for the state consolidation, € 105 million for sustainable Energy and € 17 million to support civil society.

The joins countries like Belgium and the US in cutting aid to Burundi due to the prevailing political crisis in the East African country.