A fresh start for Guinea-Bissau: EU to resume cooperation and provide new support

Today the European Union pledged €160 million for Guinea-Bissau to consolidate democracy, strengthen the rule of law, accelerate economic recovery and improve people’s lives. The announcement was made at an international conference co-hosted by the government of Guinea-Bissau, the EU and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the day after the lifting of Article 96 measures. The event comes at a decisive moment when Guinea-Bissau is on the path of consolidating democracy, the rule of law and reviving its economy after years of extreme fragility and political instability.  

High Representative and Vice-President Federica Mogherini said: “Guinea-Bissau has achieved important progress made over the past year, starting with the peaceful and credible general elections. We want to encourage the positive trends we see and will support the new government in rebuilding the country, strengthening its democratic institutions and moving towards stability, reconciliation and economic development.”

Today’s Conference brings together the international community and Guinea-Bissau to endorse the government’s own development strategy for the next ten years and to encourage international donors to pledge and coordinate financial support.

EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, added: “Guinea-Bissau is back on the international scene and ready to move forward, with the support of the EU. We will in the coming months finalize the programming of the 11th EDF envelope. We will align our cooperation with the priorities of the national development strategy that the Government will present today, especially in the areas of governance, security, justice, public administration, health and rural development.”

The conference is co-chaired by Commissioner Mimica, Ruby Sandhu-Rojon, Deputy Regional Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa of the United Nations Development Programme and H.E. Mr. Domingos Simões Pereira, Prime Minister of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau. José Mário Vaz, President of Guinea-Bissau, Macky Sall, President of Senegal and Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General and Head of the UN Department of Political Affairs are also taking part in the Opening Session.

Background

Following a military mutiny in Guinea-Bissau in 2010, the EU adopted appropriate measures under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement in 2011, stopping cooperation with the government. In April 2012, the situation deteriorated with a coup d’état and the establishment of a transitional government which was not recognised by the EU. Until 2014, all EU support was channelled directly to the population of Guinea-Bissau through NGOs and international organisations.

After free and credible elections in April/May 2014, the EU suspended the application of Article 96, which made urgently needed financial support to the new authorities possible so that they could carry out vital state functions and deliver basic social services to the population. On 23 March 2015, the EU lifted the measures under Article 96 – this paved the way for fully resuming development cooperation. Consultations and preparation of EU support under the 11th European Development Fund (2014-2020) are ongoing; an overall support of €127 million is foreseen which is likely to focus on the areas of governance, rural development and health. The additional EU funding pledged today will provide financing in support of Guinea-Bissau’s fishery policy, civil society, human rights and democracy, land governance, and funding under regional programmes.

More information

Guinea-Bissau: EU lifts restrictions on cooperation

The EU’s relations with Guinea Bissau