EU Support for Somalia

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Political relations

The EU is engaged in Somalia through a comprehensive approach based on active diplomacy, support for political change, improving security, development assistance and humanitarian aid.

For the period 2015-2020, the EU and EU Member States cooperation including development aid, humanitarian aid and peacekeeping operations amounts to €3.4 billion.

Somalia undertook political reforms in line with the New Deal principles for fragile states, which were agreed in 2011. The New Deal (2013-2016) has guided relations between Somalia and the EU and other international partners. A New Accountability and Partnership principles are expected to be renewed when a new Somali government will be in place in 2017.  

At the 2013 EU-Somalia summit, both parties endorsed the Somali Compact. The agreement provided a strategy for collaboration between the EU and Somalia. It sets out the five most important peace and state-building goals (PSGs) for the country: 1. Building inclusive politics, 2. Security, 3. Justice, 4. Economic foundations, 5. Revenue and services

EU support and funding for these and other development goals are guided by the National Indicative Programme for Somalia (2014-2020).

Peace and security

The EU plays a leading role in supporting Somalia's efforts to become a peaceful, stable and democratic country, while tackling piracy and other international crimes.

The EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) has made a significant contribution to the reduction in piracy: In 2011, 174 merchant vessels were attacked and 25 ships pirated with 736 seafarers held hostage. In 2013, 7 ships were attacked, none pirated. In 2014 two ships were attacked. There were no attacks in 2015 and one in 2016. In March 2017 a ship was pirated and held for 4 days.

The EU has three security and defence missions:

The Military Training Mission (EUTM), which supports Somali security forces.The EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR), which fights piracy, andEUCAP, which aims to improve regional maritime security.

The EU is one of the main financial contributors to the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) having committed more than €1.3 billion between March 2007 and March 2017.

Through the National Indicative Programme the EU is also providing €100 million for state and peace-building initiatives between 2014 and 2020.

Development cooperation

The EU is one of Somalia's key development partners. Between 2014 and 2020, the EU's National Indicative Programme for Somalia provides €286 million to help the country achieve its development goals. The programme has been drawn up to reflect the priorities of the Somali Compact.

Funds from the indicative programme have therefore been allocated as follows:

State-building and peace-building 

- €100 millionFood security and building resilience 

- €86 millionEducation 

- €60 millionMeasure in favour of civil society 

- €14 millionSupport measures - €26 million.

This funding is complemented by other allocations from the EU budget, covering specific issues such as: democracy and human rights, boosting local government, training, food security, and energy and water supplies.

A further €200 million was announced at the London conference.

Humanitarian aid

The EU has supported humanitarian aid operations in Somalia since 1994. The help is much needed as the country has struggled with internal conflict and natural disasters for decades.

In 2016, the EU spent €46.5 million to support aid operations in the country, helping more than two million people. Support covers issues such as emergency preparedness and response, improving food security and health, raising levels of nutrition, and providing shelter, sanitation and water. For the current drought affecting Somalia, €78.5 million have been provided in humanitarian aid by the EU in 2017. The total EU and Member States response to drought in Somalia reaches more than €450 million.

Economic relations

The EU is committed to helping Somalia develop a strong, sustainable economy which can support the country's state and peace-building processes. Relations in this area are guided by the Somali Compact, New Deal process and the National Indicative Programme. Objectives, priorities and actions are also closely linked to the Somali government's Economic Recovery Plan.

EU engagement therefore aims to revitalise and expand the Somali economy with a focus on improving livelihoods, generating employment, and encouraging inclusive growth. Special attention will be paid to improving economic opportunities for women and young people, ensuring they have greater access to profitable, income-generating activities.

Trade relations

The EU does not have a lot of formal or direct trade with Somalia. The country's main trading partners are the Gulf States and Yemen.

To help Somalia expand its trading horizons, the EU's National Indicative Programme is being deployed to improve productivity in the agricultural, livestock and fisheries sector. Programme interventions also seek to support growth by nurturing Somalia's private sector and business environment.

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