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EU wants new aid for Eritrea soon to help stem migrant exodus

The European Union aims to agree on 200 million euros (145.65 million pounds) in development aid for Eritrea by year-end to help stem an exodus of people from the poor Horn of Africa nation to

The European Union aims to agree on 200 million euros (145.65 million pounds) in development aid for Eritrea by year-end to help stem an exodus of people from the poor Horn of Africa nation to Europe, a senior EU official said on Thursday.

The five-year package, already the subject of months of talks, was not prompted by the latest migrant influx into Europe but has gained impetus as the number of asylum-seekers arriving from the Middle East and Africa has surged.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told the EU parliament this month that, of the almost 500,000 people who fled to Europe this year, most came from Syria,Libya and Eritrea.

Neven Mimica, the EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, said the 200 million euro allocation now needed approval from EU states and a decision was expected “in November but not later than the end of the year”.

“This would be a development contribution to the root causes of migration in Eritrea,” he told a news conference in Nairobi.

Eritrea, one of Africa’s poorest and most tightly controlled nations with a programme of indefinite military service that many migrants says drives them out, received EU fundsuntil 2011 when Asmara decided to stop the foreign aid programme.

The nation, which secured independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after three decades of war, has often accused the West and others of conspiring against the government of Isaias Aferwerki, a former rebel who has been president since the secession.

Mimica said the EU funds would not be channelled via government agencies of Eritrea, a country often accused of abuses by rights groups and U.N. reports. Asmara denies this.

Asked how Eritrea responded to the idea of using direct channels for aid and not the government, Mimica said: “Would you point at any government that would be happy if they are somehow circumvented by the development cooperation programmes?”

The new EU programme was drawn up after Asmara offered an opening for renewed cooperation.

In addition to the 200 million euros, more funds could come from a 1.8 billion euro emergency Trust Fund announced by Juncker. Allocations across Africa are still being discussed, but about 500 million euros could go to the Horn of Africa.

One focus of the 200 million euro programme would be to help Eritrea’s energy sector, including small-scale generation for rural areas and support for expanding the national network.

Reuters (Editing by Aaron Maasho and Mark Heinrich)

Review overview
  • Natnael September 21, 2015

    The EU & Co MAY call it politics, but it is a scandal in the human history. Now we know who also behind the massacres in Sinai and the Meditranean sea stands! The hypocratic westerners who let the very aggressive wars run without putting their own hands diectly have once again achieved it to demonstrate that they never care about the scary Eritrean mothers and poor people in a desperate situation. Now they have qualified to be the root cause and responsible onces for the conspirations and all other evil doings especially related to the exodus in the last 10 years. DIA must GO !

    Assena ! please don’t delete my posting even if itt doesn’t fit to your purpose or mindset. It is about the right to express ones opinion – thank you!

  • Cabral September 21, 2015

    It seems that the EU will try to do anything to resolve the refugee crisis- even at the cost of working with an outright dictatorial regime. This calls for an urgent concerted action to stop EU from financing the Eritrean dictatorial regime. What happened in Geneva a few months ago should be a significant learning opportunity that highlighted the only option for victory is through solidified unity. Sadly, the prominent Eritrean human rights activists seem to be stuck in a quagmire of in-fight and back stabbing. Brothers and sisters, come back to your senses and refrain from spending your time and energy in trivial squabbles. The very problem that has gripped the nation seems to haunt us all. I urge you to be promptly engaged in a constructive dialogue to resolve your conflicts and consolidate your energy to the new front line in Brussels.

    • Efrem S. September 21, 2015

      Suleiman Salim,

      You are Somalian and what are you doing on Eritrean website? If you are lost then just ask for directions.

    • E........! September 22, 2015

      Eritrea has been in her knee since day one ! You just catching up now! Do you know what kind of person is the worst? Someone who points finger for all the things went wrong !! Ask yourself, what can i do to help? not what can I talk !

      Look some neighboring countries and see where they are now !how much progress they made to the people they lead? and compare it with your leaders? what did they do within there power? War …! More war …! many more War !!

      Look Ethiopia, Dams, Highways, Natural gas, Universities, railways, education ………..Etc

      I don’t know how I can explain to you !

  • Simon G. September 22, 2015

    EU is working to destroy Eritrea and its people. Why would they give this much money. If money was the solution, Bisha would be. This is well orchestrated work to bring Eritrea to its knees.

  • simon gebru September 22, 2015

    this administration need to go.

  • SIMON GEBRU September 22, 2015

    let us oppose this man.